Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dianna Graveman Interview & Pasta Salad Recipe

Happy Valentine's Day! And welcome to Dianna Graveman, a former corporate training designer, teacher, and staff editor. She has taught both graduate and undergraduate writing students at several area colleges and universities. Her publishing portfolio includes over 160 writing credits, 22 awards, and coauthorship of four regional histories. Dianna is a graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and earned an MFA from Lindenwood University, where she also taught in the program. She is the founder, writer, editor, and designer at 2 Rivers Communications & Design and a partner at Treehouse Publishing Group. 

If you were marooned on an island, and Pots & Pens granted your wish for only one book and one food, what would you choose? Does wine count as food? If not, then I guess I’d go with any kind of fresh fruit. The book is a tough one, because I rarely read a book twice. But if I could only choose one, I suppose I might choose Terry Tempest Williams’ Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert, because it’s not so much about the stories as it is about the natural world and our reactions to it – about humans and their relationships to the wilderness and to each other.

It’s stretching your boundaries time. Is there a food you’d love to learn how to cook or a different genre or type of book you’d love to try to write? Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I may as well admit that sometimes I think I’d like to write a steamy, hot romance … really let my imagination run wild and have fun with it. First I’d adopt a pen name, though. Hmm…Dana Gray? Deana Grace?

And I’d love to learn to cook some truly delicious, vegan dishes. I’m not a vegan--not even a vegetarian--although I’m trying to eat a lot less meat. I’d like to really take the time to develop healthier cooking and eating habits, but I still love the smell of a juicy steak or burger. I need to learn to make some veggie dishes that are just as tempting, but a lot more heart-healthy.

What is your A+, number 1 writing/editing/query-reading snack? I love raw almonds--or at least the ones I can buy at the store that claim they are raw. (Apparently, truly raw almonds are hard to come by because almond producers are now required to pasteurize the almonds.) But unsalted, unroasted nuts are still my favorite snack--healthy and easy to eat while tapping away at the keyboard. No chance for spills!

Please share one cheesy “writing is like cooking” thought. Okay, this really is cheesy, but here goes: Writing is like a slow-cooker recipe. It’s not done until you walk away for awhile and let it simmer. Then you can come back to taste it and find out what’s missing.

What’s cooking? Can you share a bit about your next project? I have a few book projects in the oven (pun intended), but I’m also working on some shorter projects right now. And I’m proud to be a cocreator with Dahlynn McKowen (Publishers Syndicate) of Not Your Mother’s Book...On Being a Mom, a collection of offbeat, mostly humorous stories about motherhood. The anthology is scheduled for release this summer.

Recipe Row: What favorite recipe do you have for us today? My pasta salad is always a favorite, even though it is super easy and quick to make:

1 16-oz. box rainbow rotini
1 16-oz. bag frozen California-style vegetables (broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower)
1 large can ripe olives, sliced
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
White vinegar and your choice of cooking oil
1 small red onion (chopped), if desired

Note: Bottled Italian dressing may be substituted for the Good Seasons mixture

1.     Boil rotini until tender. Drain. Run cold water over pasta to cool.
2.     Place the frozen vegetables in a colander and run cold water over them to thaw.
3.     In a large serving bowl, add cooked rotini, thawed vegetables, olives, artichoke hearts, onion, and Parmesan. Gently toss.
4.     Mix the Good Seasons salad dressing according to package directions. You may choose to use the Good Seasons cruet for measurement, but it is not necessary.
5.     Just before serving, add the dressing and toss.


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