Monday, May 21, 2018

Bowl Food

While most people are talking about the dress and the hats, apparently there's another hot topic that arose regarding the royal wedding. Duchess Meghan is reportedly a foodie and requested "bowl food."

While food bowls have been sweeping Instagram for a while, one prettier than the next, in this case "bowl food" meant canapés. Except they are bigger than canapés and smaller than a dinner plate. Reactions were swift and opinionated. Nicky Haslam, a British interior designer, dared to utter that they were "like something out of Oliver." However, Nigella Lawson is a huge fan of bowl food.

There are some things to consider, though. While it's apparently comforting to hold a bowl of warm food in one's hand, serving them at a time when guests mingle can lead to the need for a third hand with which to hold a drink since it requires two hands to hold the bowl and eat. But that's long been the problem with canapes served on plates.

Whatever you think about food bowls or bowl food, I've been a fan for a while. And I find that my mother loves eating a bigger variety of tiny portions, so for dinner, I thought I'd make a food bowl and share it here.

Of course, the lovely thing about a recipe like this is that you can substitute whatever makes your mouth water. I'm trying raw asparagus for the first time. I heard about it and while roasting some, I munched on the discarded ends. So crunchy! They were wonderful, so they went into my food bowl with pasta, spring peas, grape tomatoes, avocado, baby spinach leaves, a little ham, raspberries, and a honey lemon dressing. Granted, it doesn't compare to a royal bowl food, but it's healthy! If vinaigrette isn't your thing, substitute your favorite salad dressing. My mom is a cheese lover, so she got a sprinkle of Parmesan on her pasta.

Pasta Veggie Food Bowl with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

fusilli pasta, prepared according to package
avocado (about 1/4 for each bowl)
baby spinach leaves (roughly 5-7 for each bowl)
spring peas (4-5 for each bowl)
raspberries (5 for each bowl)
asparagus (1-2 for each bowl)
ham, sliced (or leftover steak, chicken. shrimp, etc.)


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients of the vinaigrette until emulsified.

Place the pasta in the middle of the bowl. Arrange the remaining ingredients around or over the pasta, alternating colors and shapes. Drizzle the vinaigrette over everything, especially the pasta.

Using a plate instead of a bowl.

Using a large, shallow bowl.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Hurricanes--the good kind by Nicole Leiren #recipe #giveaway

Please help me welcome my friend Nicole Leiren to Mystery Lover's Kitchen. When Nicole asked if a drink recipe was okay, I told her as long as she made it for me the next time we were together, it would be fine. 😈

Hi Everyone!

Nicole Leiren here on behalf of Lilly Waters, bartender extraordinaire from The Smugglers’ Tavern in Danger Cove, Washington. Lilly, like myself, is no Betty Crocker (or Martha Stewart) so we both have a great deal of appreciation for all the amazing culinary creators that grace the pages of this blog.

Lilly lived in New Orleans for a short time before moving to Danger Cove. That’s where she learned to make her famous hurricanes that are featured in “Heroes and Hurricanes.” Named after the lamp shaped glasses the drink was served in when they were originally served at Pat O’Brien’s bar in New Orleans, the hurricane is a fresh, fruity drink that has been enjoyed by thirsty people since the 1940’s.
To make these traditional hurricanes (recipe courtesy of New Orleans Official Guide), simply follow this easy recipe:
2 oz light rum
2 oz dark rum
2 oz passion fruit juice
1 oz orange juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon simple syrup
1 Tablespoon grenadine

Garnish: orange slice and cherry (preferably speared with a plastic sword LOL)
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice (Lilly does a little dance during this part, but you can skip that if you want) and strain into a Hurricane glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

To make the virgin version, simply leave out the light and dark rum and garnish with your favorite fruit!

Want to learn more about Lilly and her special cocktails (and how she catches the bad guys?) check out Heroes and Hurricanes or her newest adventure, Deadly Dirty Martinis.

For everyone who comments, you’ll be entered to win the Danger Cove Cocktail Mystery Box Set that includes 3 full length adventures for the occupants of Smugglers’ Tavern, including Heroes & Hurricanes.

For Purchase Information:

Described by those who know her best as perky, quirky and effervescent, USA Today Best-Selling author Nicole Leiren likes to have fun — in life, with her characters and, of course, her readers.  She admits to being sassy (just ask her mother!) and inspiration for her characters are drawn from the real-world heroes and heroines she meets while traversing the country.
Nicole enjoys sharing the love, laughter, mystery, and occasionally a touch of the mayhem she forces her characters to endure—all for the reader’s pleasure!  Her real-world heroes and heroines will keep you turning the pages until you reach the whodunit or happily ever after (usually both!)
Social Media Info:

Twitter:  @NicoleLeiren


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Salmon and Asian Vegetables #Recipe @PegCochran

Are you taking a break from watching the royal wedding to visit the blog?

This is a lovely, light recipe for the warmer days ahead! It comes from the Skinnytaste cookbook my daughter gave me for Mother's Day called Fast and Slow. (I won't repeat the comment my husband made about that title.)

This is not the exact  recipe because...well, because.  I think the recipe was for four or six people and there are only two of us.  And there was more bokchoy involved, which I don't think my husband loves.  So I kind of fiddled with quantities and ingredients.  Feel free to do the same.


Salmon (I made 1/2 lb. for the two of us)
Asian sweet chili sauce (about 2 tablespoons was enough for the quantity of salmon)
Sriracha to taste (I used a teaspoon and it was plenty spicy)
red, orange or yellow peppers (I used two) sliced into thin strips
baby bokchoy (I used one small bunch but you could definitely use more) cut into quarters
dash of olive oil
2 tsps. minced garlic
2 tsps. grated ginger (I used the stuff in the jar)
Soy sauce

Combine Asian chili sauce and sriracha and brush on fish.  Grill salmon outside or inside until just done (it took about 8 minutes on a gas grill preheated to 400 degrees.)

In a pan, heat olive oil and add garlic and ginger.  Cook, stirring, until fragrant.  Add veggies and saute until desired doneness.  I added a dash of soy sauce, which wasn't in the recipe but was good!

Plate salmon on top of veggies and enjoy!


Amazon Print
Barnes & Noble

It’s a marriage made in murder in the new Cranberry Cove Mystery from USA Today bestselling author Peg Cochran!

The long-awaited wedding of Monica and Greg is the highlight of the harvest season in Cranberry Cove, drawing friends from far and wide to help them celebrate. Among the guests are an old college friend of Monica’s and the woman’s boisterous new husband, a man with many enemies and more than a few bitter women in his past. When he turns up dead on a boat, the victim of a fatal stabbing, Monica steps in once again to unravel the mystery.

As she dredges up clues and wades through a long list of suspects, Monica’s sleuthing becomes all the more pressing when the local police are convinced that her friend did the deed. Monica will have to clear her name fast and track down the real culprit as the killer threatens to bring her sweet wedded bliss to a bitter end.

Includes tasty recipes!


Pre-Order Now! Coming June 2018

Barnes and Noble


“The clever ‘Dear Reader’ asides serve up just the right amount of dry wit, and the occasional blog post snippet provides readers with some helpful tips alongside their mystery. The case is always well plotted, and the fictitious Michigan small-town setting provides an intriguing supporting cast with a bevy of interesting personalities. Readers will root for Shelby to solve the case and stay on the edge of their seats until she does.”

– RT Reviews



Barnes & Noble

A Park Avenue princess discovers the dark side of 1930s New York when a debutante ball turns deadly in this gripping historical mystery for readers of Victoria Thompson, Anne Perry, and Rhys Bowen.

Manhattan, 1938. Tired of being trapped in the gilded cage of her family’s expectations, Elizabeth Adams has done what no self-respecting socialite would think to do: She’s gotten herself a job. Although Elizabeth’s dream is to one day see her photographs on the front page of the Daily Trumpet, for now she’s working her way up as the newsroom’s gal Friday.

But fetching coffee isn’t exactly her idea of fun, so when veteran reporter Ralph Kaminsky needs a photographer to fill in for a last-minute assignment, Elizabeth jumps at the chance. At the Waldorf Hotel, Elizabeth is tasked with tracking down the season’s “It girl,” Gloria DeWitt, who will be making her society debut. Working her own connections to New York’s upper crust, Elizabeth manages to land an exclusive interview with Gloria.

Then Gloria’s stepmother is shot dead in a Waldorf bathroom, placing Elizabeth at the scene of a headline-worthy scandal: “Murder of a Society Dame.” Now Elizabeth will have to get the scoop on the killer before her good name gets dragged through the gossip columns—or worse. . . .

From a Goodreads Review:

"What absolute fun! Penned with wit, humor and style, MURDER, SHE REPORTED gets my definite, “Yes!”

Catch up with me on Facebook

Friday, May 18, 2018

My Mother's Frosting

This week I was in our local supermarket and happened to stop in the baking aisle and look at cake mixes. I usually prefer to make baked goods from scratch, so I’ve been out of touch with boxed mixes and most frozen desserts (except for puff pastry, which is beyond my skills). I recognized the brand names, but apart from that nothing was familiar. The products looked attractive, but I wouldn’t know where to start.

I was looking for something to put frosting on, in particular one recipe I remember my mother making. She didn’t particularly like desserts, but everyone else in the family did, so for holiday dinners and birthdays, she grudgingly went along with the program.

What I remember most often (after her chocolate sauce, which went on ice cream) was  “seven-minute frosting” on birthday cakes. This recipe came out of the battered, grease-stained copy of Fanny Farmer’s Cooking-School Cook Book (1947 edition—she and my father married in 1948). Reading it over, I realized that its appeal for my mother was that it was very simple and fast to make. And then I realized that I couldn’t remember ever making it myself.

So I bought a frozen pound cake and jumped into making the frosting. It requires a double boiler (do people still have those? I happen to have two—my mother’s and my grandmother’s) to make sure the pan doesn’t get too hot and scorch the frosting. And while the original recipe said that you should beat the mixture over hot water for some long period of time, using an electric mixer cuts the "seven minute" time about in half.

My Mother’s Seven-Minute Frosting


1 egg white, unbeaten
3/4 cup granulated (or superfine) sugar
2 Tblsp cold water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar OR 1 tsp light corn syrup
a few grains of salt

This is one of my antique egg beaters
(no, I did not use it for this recipe!)

Instructions: (with updates)

Combine all the ingredients in the top of a double boiler and stir until the sugar dissolves. Place the top pan over briskly boiling water. (Note: the water should already be boiling before you put the top part over it. And the bottom of the top should clear the water, not sit in it.)

Beat with an egg beater (ha!) or a hand mixer until the mixture is stiff enough to stand. (With the egg beater it will take 6-10 minutes; with the electric mixer, closer to 4 minutes.) [This instruction cracks me up: how many of you have stood over a hot pan and beaten anything by hand for ten minutes? Although I love the old egg beaters—I have a dozen of them, each different, bought at an auction.] Make sure to scrape down the sides of the pan as you mix so that all the sugar is well mixed in.

Starting to thicken

And done!

Add flavoring if you like (suggestions in the cookbook: use brown sugar instead of white; add caramel syrup; add shredded coconut; add various fruits and/or nuts. You can probably think of more! I might try coffee syrup—an old New England favorite—one of these days.).

Keep beating until the mixture is thick enough to spread. Now, here is the odd part: the original recipe does not tell you that you’d better spread it ASAP, while it’s still warm, because otherwise it gets too stiff as it cools and will tear up the cake when you try to spread it. So have your cake or cupcakes or whatever you’re planning to frost ready and waiting (and cooled) before you start making your frosting.

Frosted Pound Cake

The original recipe claims that this amount should cover a dozen cupcakes, or maybe half a layer cake. I think that assumes that you’re spreading it very thin or using a very small cake.

And I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the frosting will be very sweet, because the only real ingredient is sugar.

At last! Book news, breaking this week! Revealing the Dead is now available!

Revealing the Dead, from Beyond the Page, May 2018

Still undecided about a return to her teaching career, Abby Kimball has thrown herself into restoring the grand Victorian she shares with her boyfriend, Ned. She’s happy to put thoughts of her strange ability to see the dead on the back burner for a while, but she realizes that won’t be so easy when she’s faced with two new compelling encounters.

First, a plumber she’s hired has a shocking experience with an old tool they find buried in the house’s walls, and then the interior life of an autistic boy streams through her mind as if he were speaking. Intrigued by the possibility that those who share her ability are more numerous and considerably more varied than she ever imagined, Abby’s forced to reconsider everything she thought she knew about her extraordinary gift. 

But wait! There's more! In case you haven't had a chance to read the earlier books in this series, the first three are now available as a set, at a reduced price. (Funny inside story there. We were looking for an image that conveyed "Victorian" and were struggling to find one, so I sent pictures of my front door--and that's what ended up on the cover! The cat, however, is not mine, although he looks a lot like Henry who lives next door.)

For details, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Easy Yellow Layer Cake @LucyBurdette #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE: I wanted to make a cake for a small dinner party, but I didn’t have a lot of time. (Big deadline looming for food critic mystery number nine.) I Googled “easy yellow cake” and came across the recipe on which this cake is based. It was simple, because everything gets added into the food processor in turn– No sifting, no separating of eggs, no alternating liquids with dry. And it was very good, light but dense. Maybe not my favorite yellow cake for all time, but very good!


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons low sodium baking powder
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by buttering well and then flouring lightly.

Combine the butter and sugar in the food processor and beat until pale yellow. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder and mixed that minimally. Beat in the milk and vanilla, again don’t overbeat.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 25 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched lightly. 

Then cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from the pans to cool completely. 

Frost as desired– My desire was whipped cream and sliced strawberries, but chocolate or mocha butter cream would be wonderful as well.

(Sorry about the photo--we were quite a ways into the cake when I remembered!)

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, May 16, 2018

Goat Cheese Gratin #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:

As I gear up for the release of the trade paperback version of the first French Bistro Mystery, A DEADLY ÉCLAIR and the release of the hardcover version of the 2nd in the series, A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION, I'm busier than all get out with  promotional activities. Plus I have a book deadline for the 7th Cookbook Nook Mystery. Yipes!  So I don't have a lot of time to do intensive recipes. I want easy. Don't we all? 

I was having a few people over and decided that a quickie hot appetizer would be perfect. Add a few crudites with green goddess dip (that I shared a few weeks ago), and I knew it would be a perfect and "easy" soiree.  

Since I'm still trying new recipes from cookbooks (will this get old?) I decided to test this goat cheese gratin recipe, also from a Food and Wine Best of the Best 2013. I have to admit their recipe looked prettier than mine. I wonder what it must be like to be a food photographer and being able to "beautify" pictures. The topping on this crackled and bubbled which gave a crusty edge to the pan. Did my guests care? No, they did not. (I suppose a steaming-hot wet cloth might have prettied it up, but my guests told me to move away.) They devoured in a matter of 10 minutes.  LOL  (FYI, I'm a cheater. I tweaked the topmost photo in this post. See untweaked--messy--photo below.)

One more thing...I prepared this a day ahead and  popped it into the oven right before guests were due. Perfect-o!

The dish is piping hot so warn your guests to be careful. It's delicious served with pita chips or crackers.

Pepper-Glazed Goat Cheese Gratin

This warm, sweet-spicy goat cheese dip is a great, easy alternative to a cheese plate

1 pound creamy fresh goat cheese, softened (I used 12 ounces)
6 tablespoons apricot preserves
4 Peppadew peppers, finely chopped (these are the red, stuff-able kind)
1 pickled jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (I didn’t remove all the seeds)
2 tablespoons minced cocktail onions (about 5 onions)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoons dry sherry
Pita chips or toasted baguette slices for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Spread the softened goat cheese in a 5 x 8” gratin dish in an even layer. I used my fingers to press it into place.

In a small bowl, whisk the preserves with the Peppadews, jalapeño, onions, mustard, and sherry. Spread the mixture over the goat cheese and bake on the top rack of the oven for about 5 minutes, until warm. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes until the topping is bubbling and lightly browned at the edges.

Serve the gratin hot, with pita chips or toasted baguette slices.

From Grace Parisi
Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2013

Savor the mystery!

Friend Daryl and Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
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

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Molly's Six-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies #recipes @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE:  Not hard to tell what food is featured in AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, the 5th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, is it? I finished the book about this time last year, which meant testing Christmas cookie recipes out of season. That made my Mr. Right quite happy, as you might imagine.

If you’re like me—and my protagonist, Erin Murphy—you don’t consider peanut butter cookies holiday fare. They’re more of an every-day cookie. When Erin’s young cousin Molly, whom Erin quickly points out is not half-Italian, making her food choices somewhat suspect,  brings these to the annual cookie exchange, Erin rolls her eyes. A Christmas cookie, in Erin’s considered opinion, is a snowball (aka a Russian teacake), a fudge ecstasy, a candy cane cookie, or an almond cloud.

But guess which cookie her sweetie, Adam Zimmerman, favors?

When they’re this tasty, who cares what time of year you make them?

These cookies are gluten-free, and freeze nicely. Spritz your measuring cup with cooking spray—one quick burst will do—before scooping up the peanut butter, and it will slip right out and clean up easily. Adams’ No-Stir Chunky peanut butter is perfect for this recipe—and not just because of the name! I have seen a recipe using Eliot’s Spicy Thai Peanut Butter; I haven’t found it yet, but am hoarding a jar of Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter for the next time Mr. Right needs a special treat.

AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, the 5th Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, will be out June 8 from Midnight Ink, in trade paper, e-book, and audio. Available for pre-order now.

Molly's Six-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies


2 cups peanut butter (see note above)
2 cups white sugar (scant)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 pinch salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream together peanut butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Stir in baking soda and salt. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Press a fork into the top to make a criss-cross pattern. Bake 10–12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen.

From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink, June 2018, available for pre-order now):  

In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.