These dishes are offered by artist Yasamine June for a classic Persian New Year celebratory meal. Who is Yasamine? She’s the delightful woman who brings the magic of a fine artist to the images readers note when they pick up a Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mystery. Please note that while she lives in California, you will find speakers of Farsi in the Islands! The following three elements of this delightful meal can be served together or separately. As with all foods, be cautious about the freshness of the ingredients you use...
KOO KOO SABZI: A Fresh Herb Skillet Pie
3⁄4 Tsp. Salt
1⁄2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1⁄2 Tbs. Flour
2-3 Tbs. Canola Oil
Vegetable Filling [all chopped finely]
1 C. Scallions [green part only, from two bunches]
1 C. Fresh Dill
1 C. Spinach
1 C. Fresh Parsley
2 Butter leaf lettuce
Beat eggs in a small bowl. Place beaten eggs in mixing bowl with flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat until frothy. Add finely chopped vegetables to this mixture and beat again until thoroughly mixed.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a 12-inch non-stick sauté skillet until very hot. Add beaten herb pie mixture. Level mixture in pan with the back of a spoon. Cover pan and cook over very low heat until solidified. Cut into pie into 4 pieces and flip over, adding 1/2 T. oil under each piece. Cover and cook until done [about 30-40 minutes total cooking time].
SABZI POLO: An Easy Rice Recipe
1 Cup Basmati Rice
2 Cups Water
2 Tsp. Butter or Olive Oil
1 Tsp. Salt
3 or 4 Tbs. dried Dill [or a combination of dried fenugreek and dill]
Before cooking the rice:Rinse rice in a thick-bottomed saucepan with a lot of water, moving the water with your hand for a couple of minutes. Pour the water off to rinse the rice. To ensure fluffy rice, repeat this process four times to remove all residue.
To the rinsed rice, add 2 cups of water, plus butter and salt. Add dried dill or the combination of dried fenugreek and dill. Bring the rice to a boil; reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 20-25 minutes). Remove the pan from the burner until ready to serve. Prior to serving, fluff with a fork to distribute herbs.
4 Mahi, trout fillets or pieces of whitefish
Salt and Pepper [to taste]
Flour [for dredging]
1 Lemon, sliced into rounds
Fry lemon slices with olive oil plus a pat of butter, then set aside to garnish the fish
Lightly salt and pepper the fish, then lightly cover on both sides with flour. Shake off excess flour. Heat a small amount of oil and butter [or just olive oil] in a frying pan, skin side down. Fry fish on both sides at medium high until golden brown, adjusting heat as necessary. Return fish to skin side down and squeeze lemon juice on fillets. Cover for about 2 mins.
NOTE: For the sake of your plumbing, if a pool of oil remains in the pan, let it cool and dispose of in the garbage in a small plastic bag, or other disposable container, never down the sink.
Above you can see the award-winning book covers that Yasamine June and I have created. I can truly say she is my fine [in more than one sense] artist. For each book, I write a description of the elements I wish to see on the cover. Then I find pictures that resemble those elements and create a painful cut-and-paste draft from which she springs forward with her magic. With projects ranging from creative direction to photography, typography, and videography to graphic and fine art, Yasamine describes her work as artistic expressions inspired by her lifetime in California. You can learn more about her at YasamineJune.com/about.
When I was preparing to publish Prospect for Murder, the first Natalie Seachrist Hawaiian Mystery, I knew I needed a unique cover to set an elegant and evocative tone for the series and perhaps an element that would be replicated on each volume. As I looked at the cover art images of other mysteries, I was disappointed. The best ones look like the social realism of the 1930s. More often, they are cartoon-like, sometimes paralleling today’s children’s book art. Granted they are colorful and hint at nefarious doings. But they’re not truly mysterious or haunting. For those qualities, one can look at romance books.
At the time, I was recording the audio edition of PFM with Jim Waters of Waterworks Recording West. When I discussed my desire for a distinctive style of book covers, Jim mentioned an artist and music publisher with whom he had been working. Once I had examined samples of her work, I immediately knew that I wanted to work with her.
A Distinctive Fine and Graphic Artist!
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2017 NEW MEXICO-ARIZONA BOOK AWARDS
FINALIST, Mystery/Suspense ~ WINNER, Cover Art 6x9 Fiction
2018 ARIZONA LITERARY EXCELLENCE CONTEST
2nd PLACE, Published Fiction
2018 NEW MEXICO-ARIZONA BOOK AWARDS
FINALIST, Cozy Mystery ~ WINNER, Cover Art 6x9 Fiction
B O O K A W A R D
2019 NEW MEXICO/ARIZONA BOOK AWARDS
WINNER for Fiction-Adventure/Other
Finalist for- Mystery Crime and Cover Design-Fiction (6x9)
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