Hi Charlie! Thanks for letting me visit! Home Grown was released by Dreamspinner Press on Sept 3rd, and I’m so excited. The guys in Home Grown are from wildly different worlds and this is a story about how they learn to work through problems both of them have in their past. The other big part of the story is their love of food. I mean, Ethan raises organic veggies for the farmers market. So I thought I’d share recipes that show up in the novel, plus a few extras. Good food and cute guys, what could be better!
So here’s the latest recipe from the book. This time it’s the tomato and mozzarella salad Peter made for Ethan.
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad (Caprese)
6 tomatoes, sliced (Heirloom tomatoes would great, Cherokee Purple especially.)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6-12 leaves fresh basil
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices alternating around the serving plate. Tuck basil leaves between the slices. If you have leaves left cut into strips and sprinkle over the top. Next mix the balsamic vinegar, EVOO, salt and pepper together, and then drizzle over the tomato and cheese slices. Let the flavors develop for an hour.
~ Jon ~
Peter Stevens believes nothing tastes better than a vine-ripened tomato tended by a farmer’s hands. The craving for heirloom tomatoes leads him to his local farmers’ market and his favorite vendor, Ethan Hart. As Peter becomes a regular customer, the two find they have more in common than a love of good food. Just as Ethan begins to relax, Peter’s ex, Jay, appears and is all the things Ethan is not. A perfect storm of mistakes and poor choices, as well as Ethan’s haunted past, has him ready to admit defeat. With the guidance of friends and a goat far too smart for her own good, Ethan realizes he needs to have a tender hand and patience to grow a home for Peter.
Ethan’s stomach fluttered, his anticipation building as he scanned the early morning farmer’s market crowd. Stop it. Peter will show up when he shows up. Ethan snapped his attention back to the present when the small gray-haired woman who ran the booth beside him tucked herself under his arm and hugged him tight.
“Morning, Maggie. How are things going?” Ethan kissed the top of her head and returned her embrace.
“Not bad, not bad. I’ve put out all the soaps. I hope everyone feels dirty today and stocks up.”
Ethan chuckled at the image of mud people gathering around Maggie’s stall. “Well, my customers can be clean. But I think business today will be good. The late season tomatoes are finally ripe, and I’ve had lots of people asking about them.”
Heat crept up Ethan’s cheeks. “Peter? I don’t know. Probably. You know he has a thing for my tomatoes.”
“Uh-huh, yeah. I might have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. Admit it to Auntie Maggie, you have the hots for the boy, and I think he has a thing for more than your tomatoes.”
Ethan brushed off her speculation with a wave of his hand. “Maggie, you’re crazy. That man’s some kinda high-powered muckety-muck downtown. He’d never know I lived in Wisconsin if I didn’t have the best tomatoes in the market.”
Ethan studied the forming crowd, their sounds echoing through the building. “It looks like it’s getting busy, I’d better check to make sure I got everything from the truck.”
He embraced her again and trotted out the side door to his pickup. I’m not ready to talk to anyone about my feelings about Peter.
Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, and comic books.
A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.