Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Portrait to Die For - Radine Trees Nehring, Author

(see notes below)

Use approximately l lb. lean hamburger, frozen in a flatish lump.
1 can beef broth. (No-fat kind is good)
1 small can tomato juice or similar tomato product. (Use imagination here. You could substitute left-over picante sauce, salsa, or seasoned canned tomatoes, for example. Add water if needed, making sure there is plenty of liquid around the meat at all times.)
1 med. to large onion, cut in strips, and 1 green pepper, also cut into strips with membrane and seeds removed. 
Unwrap frozen meat and place in a large casserole dish or a roaster with a lid.  Salt and pepper the meat lump, and you can also add any other seasonings you like. Arrange onion and pepper slices on top. Pour beef broth mixed with your tomato product around the sides.  (Not over the top.)
Bake, covered, in 350 degree oven for an hour and a half.
For larger quantities of meat, test for doneness after an hour and a half, adjust time as needed. (Because of the tomato juice, meat will have a pinkish tinge throughout.)
Thicken liquid for gravy.  Carrie serves this with baked potatoes and a green salad.

Note:  Carrie's Hamburger Patty Surprise is another super-simple recipe already becoming popular with readers. See her son's reaction to it in "A Portrait to Die For."  That recipe is the back of the book.

As you have probably discovered already, Carrie is not an enthusiastic cook, and--due to life circumstances--never had cooked until she was on her own when past middle age.  All her recipes are "double simple," but by far the favorite with readers is her No-Thaw Hamburger Meatloaf from "A Treasure to Die For."  If you want meatloaf and all you have is frozen hamburger, this is your answer, and it's delicious.  (The Nehrings enjoyed it just last week.)

A Portrait to Die For - Review by Martha A Cheves, Author of Stir Laugh Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

"Beginning around the time of the Revolutionary War, it was the practice, mainly in Europe and the British Isles, for important works of art like those in the Port View portrait collection to be copied in folios of mezzotint prints.  Imported folios (large books or folders) of English portraits provided late 18th Century artists in this country with models for elegant poses and gestures that could be used by their sitters, and also with ideas for beautifully developed background scenery.  Prints in the folios are normally close reproductions of the original, and Crystal Bridges' Library is fortunate to own a number of these folios.  If you have time after viewing the Port View portraits, visit the library and study the books of prints on display there.  One of the mezzotints you'll see is a portrait of young twins.  Each child holds a bouquet of daisies.  The original of that print in the gallery below is one of the Port View Historical Society's true treasures.  I suggest, for fun, you study both the original portrait and the print carefully.  Do you find variations between the two?"

This was part of an article written by Reporter Maylynn Brewer after her visit to the Crystal Bridges Library.  Apparently she had seen a difference between the original and its copy and this article is about to cost her her life as well as her brother Mark's life.  Then Maylynn disappears.

Carrie McCrite is a volunteer at the Crystal Bridges Library.  She too has noticed a difference between the two pieces of art.  Carrie has a tendency to get herself involved in other people's problems and this difference is piquing her interest.  Henry has insisted that she not get involved.  Her past involvements have come very close to costing not only her own life but his as well.  But... when Henry's younger half sister Catherine becomes involved with the search for Maylynn her fiance Rob, who is Carrie's son, also joins her and of course Carrie and Henry can't allow them to play detectives by themselves.

This book picks up pace as the story goes along, especially when a Port View truck is hi-jacked.  What was in the truck?  Painting sales are discovered but are they sales of the real thing or copies?  If they are copies, how are the buyers being convinced that they are the real thing?  I found this book very enlightening as to how the art world works, but I also found it to be a very spellbound mystery.

Radine Trees Nehring, 2011 Inductee, Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame.
Sharing the magic and mystery of the Arkansas Ozarks in To Die For novels.
New Carrie and Henry adventure from Oak Tree Press: A Portrait to Die For.

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