Monday, June 25, 2018

3 Tricks and a Recipe

Does anyone else remember when Lucy and Ethel calculated how many dishes they had washed in their lives? I found myself counting meals I had cooked because I can't believe this never crossed my path! How did I not think of this?

I have to admit that this recipe came from the back of a package of bionaturae linguini. (That's not a typo, they don't capitalize their name.) The recipe is called Linguine Cacio e Pepe with Asparagus which translates to Linguine Cheese and Pepper with Asparagus. A quick search on Google indicates that this is a fairly common recipe with lots of people throwing in white beans, peas, spring vegetables, and in one case salmon. Clearly there are a lot of ways to go with this basic concept. I happened to have asparagus on hand as well as mushrooms, but if you're in the mood to use somthing else, it's worth a try.

Trick #1: This actually cam from my mom. When your mushrooms begin to look a little bit icky, peel them! No, I'm not kidding. I usually rinse them off first. Then take out the stem. Grasp a little bit of the underside of the cap and slowly pull it back. Repeat all the way about the mushroom until you have a nice clean-looking mushroom!


Trick #2: Did you know that you can make a sauce from cheese and the water in which you cooked your pasta? The recipe today recommends grated Pecarino Romano. I used a white cheddar because that was what I had, but it worked great! Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and whisk. That's it and the silly thing is that it's delicious.

Trick #3: Are you cooking your veggies in a separate pot? Hah! Cut the asparagus into one inch pieces. Slice the mushrooms. Five minutes before the pasta finishes cooking, add them to the water. Presto, your pasta comes out with the veggies already added.

Linguine Cacio e Pepe with Asparagus and Mushrooms
based on a recipe from bionaturae

1 pound linguine
1 bunch aspagagus
6-8 mushrooms, white or cremini
1 1/2 cups Pecarino Romano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

Follow the directions to cook the linguini. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch bits. Clean (and peel if necessary) the mushrooms, and slice them. Set aside. Pour the grated cheese into a mixing bowl. Five minutes before the pasta should be done, take 1/2 cup of the boiling pasta water and add it to the cheese. Add the mushrooms and asparagus to the pasta. Add the olive oil and pepper to the cheese and whisk until it's creamy. Drain the pasta. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss.

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Guest Marian Stanley and her Amazing Caramel-Whiskey Bread Pudding

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen is delighted to welcome Marian Stanley as our guest today (failte romhat!). I may be a little biased--Marian is a friend from the Boston area, and in Buried Troubles, her second book, she's writing about both Boston and Ireland (although not the County Cork area I know). It's a delightful read--but then, we know that the Irish are good story-tellers, right? And these days they're good cooks as well.

I don’t think of the story in Buried Troubles, based in Boston and Ireland, as being alcohol-drenched. However, I do mention Irish whiskey a few times (Jameson’s or “Jay”) – usually lacing a cup of tea or maybe a strong cup of coffee after dinner. (I also mention Ipswich Ale in the book, but I don’t have a recipe for that yet!)

So, the combination of a rich bread pudding with a touch of the “Jay” sounds intriguing. To date, my favorite bread pudding has been an orange-chocolate version with a Grand Marnier whipped cream that we’ve had for Christmas sometimes. Now, I think that wonderful dessert has been replaced on my favorites list with this excellent Caramel-Whiskey bread pudding.

I will confess that, after making this dessert, my daughter and I had two helpings each for dinner. (That would not be with dinner, but for dinner.) So, be forewarned. A little dangerous.

I owe full credit for this recipe to Charlotte Song of Mount Lebanon, PA., who served the pudding to the Woodridge Book Club in her home earlier this year.



1/4 cup melted butter
1 (10-ounce) French bread baguette cut into 1-inch slices
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1-3/4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
cooking spray
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Caramel-Whiskey Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brush melted butter on one side of French bread slices, and place bread, buttered sides up, on a baking sheet.

Bake bread for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. 

Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, and set aside.

Combine raisins and whiskey in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 minutes or until soft (do not drain). You could substitute apple juice (??!!) for whiskey.

Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add bread cubes and raisin mixture, pressing gently to moisten; let stand 15 minutes. Spoon bread mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over pudding. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until set. Serve warm with Caramel-Whiskey Sauce.


1-1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter
2 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup Irish whiskey (again, substitute 1 tablespoon imitation rum extract and 3 tablespoons water for whiskey, if desired)
1/4 cup milk

Combine sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly.

Cook an additional 15 minutes or until golden (do not stir) 

After the sugar mixture is done, carefully add butter and cream cheese, stirring constantly with a whisk (mixture will be hot and bubble vigorously).

Cool slightly and stir in whiskey and milk. 



Still recovering from injuries sustained during her last effort in solving a murder, Rosaria O’Reilly is dragged into a new case with ties with ties to the Irish community on both sides of the Atlantic. Set in Boston and Western Ireland, BURIED TROUBLES tells a story about the murder of an aspiring young Irish journalist on the Boston waterfront and the long memories of a small island with a complicated history. Against the wishes of her partner BPD Detective Solly Belkin, who is handling the case in Boston, Rosaria travels to Western Ireland for answers. There, she is caught up in a dark web of ancient grievances, crimes and secrets that powerful people are determined to keep hidden forever. She soon finds herself in grave danger from those who won’t let go of the past.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marian McMahon Stanley is the author of two Rosaria O’Reilly mysteries from Barking Rain Press - The Immaculate (May 2016) and Buried Troubles (June 2018) as well as a recent short story “Career Transitions” in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.  Marian enjoyed a long international corporate career and, most recently, a senior position at an urban university. A dual citizen of the United States and Ireland, she writes in a small town outside Boston, where she lives with her husband Bill and a Westie named Archie. She is now working on the next in the Rosaria series The Mariposa Circle.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cheesy Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Zucchini #Recipe by Author Denise Swanson

Being half Italian, I love a good chicken Parmesan, but making a healthy version has been a challenge. Especially since I want it inexpensive and tasty as well. Then I stumble across this recipe, and with a few tweaks, it satisfied all my requirements. (Granted there's no Parmesan) Add a simple green salad and garlic-rubbed toasted bread slices and you have a light summer meal.

1 ounce white flour (about 1/4 cup)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 small chicken breasts (pounded thin)
5/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
 Cooking spray
 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
 1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini (about 1 medium)
 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
 2 garlic cloves, minced
Homemade or bottle marinara sauce
12 ounces of pasta (prepare according to package
 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)

Preheat broiler with oven rack in middle position. Place flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate shallow dishes. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour; dip in egg, and dredge in breadcrumbs.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add 2 breasts; cook 1 minute on each side. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining breasts. 

Top chicken with cheese; broil 1 1/2 minutes. Heat remaining oil in skillet. 

Add zucchini; sauté 1 minute. Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. 

Place chicken on top of past, spoon zucchini and tomatoes on top of the the chicken, and cover with marinara sauce.
Serve with chicken, and top with basil (optional).



Right when Dani thinks she's hit a dead-end in her career, she unexpectedly inherits an enormous old house in a quaint college town. This gives her the perfect opportunity to pursue her true passion―cooking! So Dani opens Chef-to-Go, preparing delicious, ready-made meals for hungry students attending the nearby university, as well as providing personal chef services and catering events for the local community. To help support her new business, she opens her home to a few students, renting them rooms and becoming almost like a big sister figure in their lives.

But just as Dani is relishing her sweet new life, the friend of one of her boarders is murdered, and Dani becomes one of the primary suspects! She'll have to scramble to clear her name and save her business before the killer reappears―perhaps to silence the new chef forever.


Pre-Order Now! Coming September 2018


The chips are down in Scumble River

School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd had hoped that her maternity leave would be at least a little relaxing, but when she and her husband, Wally, meet with the priest to discuss their newborn twins' christening, an explosion at the nearby bowling alley rocks the rectory. And although the business was closed at the time of the blast, there's a body inside.

As police chief, Wally is inevitably drawn into the investigation, which seems to indicate that foul play is afoot again in Scumble River, and Skye can't help but do a bit of her own sleuthing. But the clues come fast and furious, ranging from an odd new stranger in town to animosity toward the gambling machines that had recently been installed at the bowling alley, and Skye finds herself wondering if this could be the puzzle that stumps her for good.

New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson has penned another hit for cozy fans with Die Me a River, the latest installment in her beloved Welcome Back to Scumble River mystery series.


Enjoy the occasional romance?

Take one smoking-hot top chef who thinks food should be a sensual adventure, add a venture capitalist who has struggled with her weight since she was a teenager, and mix well. Is this a recipe that sizzles, or is he just another craving she must resist?

* * *

Deanna Sloan has worked too hard, dieting herself from a chubby teenager to a sleek businesswoman, to give in to her hunger now. Enduring four years as the target of her high school classmates’ cruelty taught her that only three things matter—power, money, and looks.

Leaving her small town behind, shedding the excess pounds, and obtaining a job with a six-figure salary are all steps in the right direction. However, in order to keep on target, she needs to outshine the other twenty venture capitalist associates at her new firm, maintain her weight loss, and be prepared to double-cross anyone who gets in her way. Walk in the park, right?

Wrong! Her first assignment is an investment appraisal of one of Chicago’s top chefs. Nico Thorne has come to her firm for the seed money to open his own restaurant. He is smoking hot and just a glimpse of his navy blue eyes in a photo clouds Deanna’s brain and dampens her panties. Will the flesh-and-blood man make her dissolve into a puddle of mindless lust that will derail her fast track to success?

Like Deanna, Nico’s past drives his present choices. He hates his father for using his mother’s social status to further his career, then abandoning her. As a teenager, Nico’s anger at his father resulted in a hair-trigger temper and a vow never to fall in love. Although Nico may have learned to control his demons, he still avoids women who even hint at wanting anything deeper than a few nights of uncommitted fun.

That is until he sees Deanna. Her cinnamon curls and soft green eyes totally captivate him. As they spend more and more time together, Nico’s determination to keep their relationship casual dissolves and he realizes that she might be his amore mio. But will he be able to convince Deanna that he’s the one for her?

Deanna fights her attraction to Nico, fearful that giving in will mean the loss of both her figure and her job. Can Nico overcome a lifetime of distrust? Can Deanna embrace life—imperfections and all?

Publisher’s warning: This book contains sensual consummated love scenes.

Series description:

First in Denise Swanson’s new Delicious contemporary romance series. All books are complete with no cliffhangers and a guaranteed HEA!

Catch up with me on 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Cranberry Ginger Scones and a #giveaway

This past week I made one of my rare excursions to a supermarket that I don’t usually visit (it’s all of two miles from my regular one). I stop there periodically to pick up Irish bangers (if you aren’t familiar with those, they’re a kind of sausage that’s probably more cracker crumbs that meat, but they taste good and I’m kind of addicted—when I can find them), and coffee filters (yes, I still use a Melitta and grind my own beans—I’m a dinosaur).

As I walked in I spied a display of artisinal breads, from a local bakery I did not know. Of course I had to try one, and I decided on a cranberry-ginger raised loaf. To be frank, in spite of my hopes I found the loaf rather bland, with little ginger flavor at all. I can do better! I declared. 

I don't often make raised breads, but there were plenty of cranberry-ginger scone recipes available, and it was the flavor I was after rather than the texture. I even found more than one recipe that gave me permission to use my food processor (although they’re not all that difficult to mix anyway).

Crystalized ginger
A note re ingredients. When ginger is called for in baking, it usually means candied or crystallized ginger, which adds a bit more sweetness to the mixture. And I’ve seen recipes which use dried cranberries (usually found as “craisins”), fresh cranberries, or a mixture. I would say that if you’re going to eat your scones immediately, you can use either fresh or half-and-half, but if you’re planning to store them for a day or two, the fresh cranberries might make the scones soggy. Some recipes favor using buttermilk, others heavy cream, still other suggest using yogurt. And quite a few add something orange flavored, though that can be orange zest or candied orange peel. This one had a bit of grated lemon rind instead.

Rather than tear my hair out over all these choices, I decided that any of them would work fine, and long as the mixture isn’t too gooey. So I combined at least four recipes, and here’s the result.



2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
zest of one lemon
1 stick cold butter, sliced
1/2 cup crystalized ginger, diced
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup buttermilk (or a mixture of buttermilk and cream)

coarse sugar for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place all the dry ingredients in a food processor (or stand mixer bowl or whatever you’ve got) and pulse to combine.

Strow the butter slices over the mixed dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the ginger, cranberries, and buttermilk. Mix to blend, then knead until the mixture holds together. Turn out on a floured surface and shape into a ball, then pat into a circle about one inch thick.

Use a knife to cut the circle into ten wedges, and transfer the wedges to the lined baking sheet. Make sure to leave an inch between each wedge so they will be able to expand. Sprinkle the tops with the sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven to 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm, with plenty of butter.

AND A GIVEAWAY! Next week the first book in my new Victorian Village Mysteries, Murder at the Mansion, will be coming out, and my publisher, Minotaur Books, has promised that my copies are on their way. The reviews have been so flattering that I feel giddy, so I want to share!

"Fascinating read...The prolific Connolly kicks off a new series that skillfully combines history, romance, and mystery."―Kirkus
"Amiable...cozy fans will enjoy Connolly's characteristically warm treatment of small-town life."―Publishers Weekly

"Connolly's accomplished series launch avoids the tired tropes found in many cozy debuts, incorporating humor, a realistic setting, and well-developed, appealing characters. Fans of the author's "Museum Mysteries" will welcome the guest appearance of series protagonist Nell Pratt."―Library Journal
Leave a comment about your favorite recipe (savory or sweet) that includes ginger and I'll pick one winner.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Cuban Black Bean Soup @LucyBurdette #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE: Now I'm really beginning to get excited about the launch of DEATH ON THE MENU, as it will hit bookshelves everywhere in 41 days! (Yoda's excited too, can't you tell?) Today's recipe comes courtesy of Hayley Snow's mother Janet, who serves small cups of authentic black bean soup at one of the Havana/Key West conference events that she is catering. By now, both a murder and a major theft have occurred, so some of the guests are too upset to enjoy the soup. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't!

All the most authentic Cuban black bean soup recipes I came across shared two things: First soaking the beans in a pot the day before you plan to cook, along with an onion and a green pepper. And second, cooking these vegetables along with the beans, and then pureeing and adding them back into the soup. I was dubious, but I followed these instructions and was very happy with the results.


1 pound dried black beans
One onion, peeled and halved
One green pepper, halved
Two bay leaves

¼ to ½ tsp salt

1 diced onion
1 diced green pepper
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
Olive oil
2 cups good beef stock
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Sort and wash the beans. Cover them with water in a big pot, along with the onion, pepper, and bay leaves and refrigerate overnight. Next day, simmer until tender, up to an hour. Stir in a little salt—1/2 to 1 teaspoon to taste.

Make the sofrito:

Sauté one large diced onion, one diced green pepper, two jalapeños diced, four minced cloves garlic in a couple of tablespoons olive oil. Until soft. Stir in 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and add all this to the beans.

Remove the bay leaves. Take the mushy onion and green pepper along with 2 cups of beans and process them in a blender until smooth. Add this back into the pot along with 2 cups of chicken or beef stock. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Simmer another 30 minutes, though the dish can go longer.

Serve with white rice, sour cream, hot sauce, and cilantro.



more chopping


so hard to get a good photo of black bean soup!

Do you enjoy Instagram? It's my new obsession. Please follow me if you're active!

Death on the Menu, the 8th Key West food critic mystery, will hit bookstores on August 7 from Crooked Lane Books. 

Here's a pre-order the book link from Amazon--and here's a link to preorder a hard copy from RJ Julia in CT, where you'll be able to get a signed copy. 

Or you can order it from Books and Books in Key West, or call Suzanne Orchard at Key West Island Bookstore ((305) 294-2904)--she'll be delighted to order you a copy! 

Or really, wherever books are sold...

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Crème Anglaise #recipe + #giveaway from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:

I'm very excited. A DEADLY ÉCLAIR is out in trade paperback, and the e-book is still going for less than $1.99. Can you believe it?  Plus, I just learned that the e-book for A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION, which comes out in July, is less than $10.  Do you have your copies?


I love to cook and I love to bake, but I have to admit writing the French Bistro Mysteries has really upped my game when it comes to desserts. I've tried my hand at a number of soufflés, madeleines (a delicious cookie), and tarts. 

In A Souffle of Suspicion, I set the story around a Sweet Treats Festival. (Smart I could bake.)  There's a bake-off contest. There are lots of cookies and sweet drinks.  There's even icing on a spoon!  (No, I didn't put that recipe in the book. It's icing...on a spoon.  You can do it!)

One of Mimi's favorite desserts is an easy, delicious, and decadent sauce that enhances so many desserts. Thanks to Mimi, I'm going to share it with you. Crème Anglaise is luscious and creamy (as the name states). Think “warm ice cream.” Yum. Serve over fresh fruit, pound cake, or other desserts, including soufflé.

(Makes 1 ½ cups)

2 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon brandy-based orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk egg yolks, cream, sugar, orange liqueur, and vanilla in a small saucepan until smooth.

Set saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, using a spatula or whisk to scrape the bottom, until the mixture is hot and thickens. A candy thermometer should reach about 180 degrees F. This takes 8-10 minutes. Be patient.

Allow sauce to cool. 

So I can get a little word of mouth publicity, I'm offering a copy of A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION to one commenter. But in order to enter, you have to tell someone about the book. Who did you tell?  Leave a comment and include your email so I can contact you if you win.

What's A Soufflé of Suspicion about?

The buoyant mood at Bistro Rousseau deflates when Chef Camille’s sister, Renee, turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen, and Mimi Rousseau must tease the real killer out of a mélange of menacing characters.

Crush Week in Nouvelle Vie is a madhouse—in a good way. Tourists pour into town for the pressing of the Napa Valley’s world-renowned grapes and all the town’s businesses get a nice lift, including Bistro Rousseau and Maison Rousseau. Mimi is raising the ante this year with a Sweet Treats Festival, a wonderland of croissants, cakes, tarts, and soufflés crafted with expert care by the area’s top talents.

Chef Camille’s sister Renee is managing the festival with a cast-iron fist, upsetting everyone, including her sister, which is bad for Camille when Renee turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen. Mimi is still building her business, so her first course of action is to whip up answers and catch the unsavory perpetrator before Camille takes a dusting and gets burned.


Savor the mystery!

Friend Daryl and Avery on Facebook
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Plus check out my website.

A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION, the 2nd French Bistro Mystery, coming July 10
Can Mimi prove her chef innocent before the chef gets dusted?
Click here to order.

PRESSING THE ISSUE, the 6th Cookbook Nook Mystery.

The annual Renaissance Fair serves up a helping of crafty courtiers, 
damsels in distress, and medieval murder . . .
Click here to order.

A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, the 1st in the French Bistro Mysteries, coming in trade paperback June 12.
Can Mimi clear her name before the killer turns up the heat?
Click here to order.

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery is out!
Finally there's going to be a cheese festival in Providence!
Click to order.

GIRL ON THE RUN, a stand-alone suspense.
When a fairytale fantasy night becomes a nightmare, Chessa Paxton must run for her life...but will the truth set her free?
Click to order

DAY OF SECRETS, a stand-alone suspense
A mother he thought was dead. A father he never knew.
An enemy that wants them dead.
Click here to order