Daily Archives: October 12, 2014

Steve’s Dead-Easy Zucchinni Treats

All right – so I have to confess something that some folks might consider to be a little unmanly.

I like to cook.

Worse yet, I like zucchini.

Now I know that the only way that most of you are familiar with zuchinni is those endless loaves of zuchinni loaf that your sainted Aunt Mildred-Maude likes to provide you with through August, September and October.

“Oh, it will keep in the freezer,” she’ll tell you. “And it goes lovely with a cup of lukewarm tea.”

Right, Aunt Mildred-Maude.

Why don’t you blow that lukewarm tea out of your finest lace doily?

Let me tell you how I like to cook zucchini.

Well – for starters I like to slice it thin and pan fry it with an onion – because really you could pan fry toxic waste with a good-sized onion and it would taste like something the angels had put together after reading their way through the devil’s own cookbook. I’ll serve that with eggs or meat or I’ll throw in some hash browns or even a few tomatoes and that’s what I call breakfast – especially when you serve it with a good fried egg.

You can also grab yourself one of those big old peelers and peel off a bunch of slices of that zucchini and lightly saute it and it makes a passable fettuccine – for those folks  who are trying to stay away from wheat.

You can also shred it up and make fritters out of it and it goes awesome in a big old pot of soup and it works really well with spaghetti.

But let’s take a look at the nighttime when your stomach is screaming out for something greasy and salty and loaded with calories.

Let’s take a look at Steve’s Zucchini Treats.

These things are dead easy and they beat the heck out of those funky old zucchini sticks they sell you in most taverns – so that you can pretend you are eating vegetables while you are gowing down on tavern steak and french fries and onion rings.

First off start with one or two medium zucchini.

Preheat your oven to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dang – I spelled Fahrenheit without even having to resort to Spell-Check.

While the oven is heating wash that zucchini off and then slice it into quarter inch thin slices. Don’t worry about being exact. We’re not going to mark you on your knife skills.

Grab yourself a good-sized bowl and tip a bit of olive oil into the bowl. Maybe a tablespoon or two. Then grab a couple of wooden spoons or metal spoons if you don’t have wood – heck, I told you we weren’t marking you on this – and then dump the zucchini slices  into the bowl and toss them around with your spoons until the slices are slick with olive oil.

Then, grab another bowl and dump a quarter of a cup of bread crumbs and a quarter cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese – if you’re trying to impress someone. But if nobody is watching you can just use a quarter cup of already shredded Parmesan cheese. That’s all I ever do. But don’t use that Kraft in a tube Parmesan cheese. That stuff is just plain nasty.

Fork that mess up and then add a bit of salt, pepper and garlic.

I like to use the fancy Italian bread crumbs that are already pre-spiced but this something you don’t really have to fuss about. Bread, cheese and spice – that’s your holy trinity of Mediterranean-style cooking.

Dip each slice of zucchini into the bread crumbs and cheese and make sure they are good and coated. Then spray a big old cookie sheet with Pam or whatever you want to call her. Then place the coated zucchini slices onto the pan. I like to add a little extra pinch of the bread crumbs and cheese onto the top of each slice – but that’s just me being fussy.

Bake those slices for about 25 minutes. 30 minutes if you want them extra-crispy. About five minutes before that oven bell goes ding you ought to open up a cold beer.

Or some wine if you like – but wine always gives me heartburn.

Serve him up hot and watch your friends and family gawp and stare and wonder to themselves just how in the heck did you become such a gourmet chef.

Don’t tell them I taught it to you.

Pop them into your mouth and grin.

The zucchini that is – NOT your friends and family.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

If you enjoyed this blog entry why don’t you pick up one of my e-books?

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Kindle and Smashwords: Formatting Tips

Here’s a great post with formatting info for Kindle AND Smashwords.

I’m still trying to figure out Smashwords. The meatgrinder they use keeps spitting me back out.

A Writer's Life For Me.

I’ve had a few emails from people asking about when I publish my books on Smashwords if they go through the ‘Meatgrinder’ and how do I do it.

I have to say I’ve never had a problem with Smashwords and all my books have gone through first time with no trouble. So, instead of copying and pasting the answer to reply to the emails, I thought I would do a blog on it.

Please note that these are just some of the things I do to get my books through Smashwords and Kindle, don’t take it as fact! I highly recommend reading both Kindle’s guide and Smashwords style guide in order to better understand the process.

This is a comparison of the same manuscript (my newest release, The Magic Spark) put through Smashwords (on the left) compared to Kindle (on the right).


Kindle Formatting:

– Justified alignment.
– Max…

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Story Songs…

I have ALWAYS had a great fondness for old-school story songs like this one.

Man, I absolutely LOVE that song. It’s even better for me that the musicians behind this ripping old yarn were Canadian. This is one of the tunes that I made famous – (or infamous) – at the warehouse that I used to work in back when my back was a working machine. I’d unload semi-trailers for a living and when I got back in the guts of the rig and the sweat was crawling down my forehead I’d take advantage of the unique acoustical situation and I would bellow out old tunes while I heaved and hauled, all day long.

But there is something about a story-song that always gets me grinning. I love to hear a good yarn put to music like this.

That’s Jim Stafford – the fellow that made Mr. Bojangles sing not to mention “I don’t like spiders and snakes”.


How about this one?

Yup, that’s Jimmy Dean – the fellow who put the sauce in sausages.


Mmm-yum – sure could use me some sausages right now.

There is something that I find compelling about an old-school story song. It hearkens back to the “Oh come all ye…” ballads of old and it leaves me with a bad case of the old fart blues every time I hear some of this modern stuff where the singer gets two or three lines stuck in his head and sings it out for three or four minutes and calls it a hit.

Piss on that shit.

Speaking of murder ballads how about this one?

I could go on and on. I think that at the heart of every story ever told lies a deep clear song – even if the rhythm behind that song is nothing more than the steady gnawing chatter of my fingers upon the keyboard.

Lastly – what Canadian out there can’t at least mutter a few lines of this great old story-song.

Come on and sing along with me. I’ve got a truckload full of words to unload this morning and I could use your help on the high notes.

So what’s YOUR favorite story-song?

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

If you enjoyed this blog entry why don’t you pick up one of my e-books?

I guarantee you that NONE of my characters are six feet tall.

Steve Vernon on Kindle!

Steve Vernon on Kobo!