Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tilapia with Caper-Parsley Sauce and Roasted Potatoes

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: You’d think from my posts the last few months that we’re big fish eaters. We do try to eat fish a couple of times a week, and the sauces we’ve discovered recently make that easy. Tilapia is great baked with a Panko and Parmesan coating, with smoked paprika, but I wanted other varieties, so I went looking. Hence, my posts on Lemon-Garlic Grilled Tilapia with Couscous and Grilled Cod with Parsley-Caper Pesto, not to be confused with this sauce! (Okay, you’re confused. It’s okay—I’m confused, too. But at least we’re all well fed.) Cod or any other firm, white fish would be good here, too.

We’re big sauce fans, so when we make this for the two of us, we don’t cut the amount of sauce ingredients. (Mr. Right calls sauce “goop.” Not long after we were married, his older brother visited. Dinner involved a sauce. He called it “goop.” Their mother, ever gracious, simply rolled her eyes.) It's a fairly simple reduction, much like Julia Child's famous sauce for chicken.

Potatoes might seem like an odd side dish to fish, but they’re terrific here. And they are scrumptious with the goop. (As the picture shows, we also enjoyed asparagus that night, but of course, it's highly seasonal, so choose whatever side vegetable you'd like.)

Tilapia with Caper-Parsley Sauce and Roasted Potatoes 

1 ½ pounds fingerling or new potatoes, halved

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed

kosher salt and black pepper

4 6-ounce tilapia fillets

4 ½ tablespoons cold butter

1 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons capers

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Preheat oven to 450° F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. On the baking sheet, toss the potatoes with the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once, until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, season the tilapia with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat 1½ tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the tilapia in batches until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side, adding more oil to the pan if necessary. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the wine to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, plus the capers and parsley. Serve with the tilapia and potatoes.

Serves 4.

From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON: 

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

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. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

In memory of all those who have given their lives for our freedom,
we honor you and thank you today.

I have a confession to make. Until I wrote The Diva Serves High Tea, I was not a fan of scones. I hang my head in shame. It seemed like everyone else loved them, but every time I tried one it was like taking a bite of the Sahara. They were so dry, I could barely pry my mouth open.

But if I was going to write about tea, I had to tackle the scone. And to my surprise, they're delicious. My best guess is that I was eating mass production scones that were made to serve a crowd.

So I studied scone recipes. They're fairly basic, after all, and not difficult to make if you use a food processor. Recipes for pumpkin scones and bacon cheddar scones are in the book. Since we're getting close to the release date, I thought I would try some blueberry and strawberry scones. It's hazy and overcast here, and we're waiting for more drenching rains, so scones seemed just right with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

To be honest, this recipe worried me a little bit. I've seen it on the net and in my cookbooks, so I'm guessing it's nothing terribly new. I put my own little twist on it by combining berries, but you could use any berries you like. So why did it worry me? Because it's so dry, which I suppose is the reason some recipes include an egg. Even after the berries and the cream are incorporated, it's extremely dry and doesn't cling together as well as I would have liked. But I forged ahead.

One of the tricks I learned from America's Test Kitchen is to pat the dough into a 9-inch cake pan. Don't mash it, but pat it in. When you flip it onto parchment paper, you have a lovely round to cut. So I took the too-crumbly-for-my-taste dough and patted it into the pan, hoping that might help it stick together. It probably helped a bit, but it still looked messy.

However, the payoff is scones that fairly melt in your mouth. Seriously. They're wonderful straight from the oven. I had planned to make a little lemon drizzle for them, but they just don't need it.

Blueberry and Strawberry Scones

1 cup mixed blueberries and strawberries
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons COLD butter
squeeze of lemon
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Wash the berries and dry on a paper towel. Cut the strawberries into small pieces and measure out 1 cup of berries.

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Pulse 12 times to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter over the flour. Pulse to combine 12 times. Squeeze just a little lemon over the berries. Place the flour mixture into a bowl. Pour the cream and the berries over top of it. Fold to combine about 15 times. Pour out and knead about 12 times until it forms a loose ball. Place in a 9-inch cake pan and gently spread and press into place. Flip onto the parchment paper.

Cut in half with a long knife by pressing down. (Do not use a sawing motion.) Separate the halves slightly. Cut each half into four pieces, again pressing the knife into the dough to cut it. Separate the pieces slightly. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until lightly golden on the top.

Serve with sweetened cream, jam, or clotted cream.

Dry berries on a towel.

One cup of mixed berries.

Sprinkle butter on flour mixture.

Pres into a cake pan.

Cut by pressing with a knife. Do not saw!

Separate and bake.


Have you heard about my launch day tea party? You're invited! 
June 7th from 4:00 - 6:30 EDT.


One lucky person will win this grand prize!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Kimberly Kincaid's Bolognese Sauce #giveaway

Please welcome Kimberly Kincaid, who writes a sweet and sexy romantic suspense series featuring firemen and food. Now there's a winning combination! I met her at a book signing earlier this year and couldn't resist asking her to join us at MLK as a guest--just to add a little spice!

I was raised in a big Italian family, and I married into a big Italian family. Our mantra in both is that “food is love.” So what better way to put a little spice in my brand new romantic suspense series (featuring cops and firefighters!) than to feature a little food along with the heroes, heroines, and bad guys?

In my prequel story, DEEP TROUBLE, hero Devon Randolph is helping heroine Kylie Walker out of a very dangerous spot. Naturally, she’s a little ruffled (as one tends to be when her life is on the line) so Devon asks her to look forward to her favorite meal to keep her focused and calm. Kylie happens to be a fan of spaghetti and meatballs, so I thought I’d pass along my family’s recipe for Bolognese sauce. It’s easy, delicious, and the best part is, it makes a bunch!

Here’s what you’ll need:

One Tablespoon olive oil
One medium onion, diced fine
Two stalks celery, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
One large carrot, diced fine
Two cloves garlic, diced
One pound ground beef
One pound ground pork/bulk Italian sausage (can substitute turkey or use all beef)
Two fresh bay leaves
One teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Two cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes (organic preferred)
One can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
One cup beef broth or red wine, plus more for thinning
One pinch allspice
Chopped flatleaf parsley (a generous handful) for garnish

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

In a large stockpot, warm olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot, stirring often, until soft, adding two cloves of garlic in the last two minutes of cooking (7-8 minutes total). Gently push veggies to the sides of the pot and add meat. Using a wooden spoon, break up meat and cook until brown and crumbly (about ten minutes). Add Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. 

It's an heirloom spoon
If you've got any lovely brown bits on the bottom of the pot from the veggies, de-glaze with a splash of beef broth (red wine works well here too, and the alcohol burns off so this recipe is safe for the under-21 set!). Add all three cans of tomatoes and the pinch of allspice, and heat to a low bubble.

Simmer, uncovered for at least an hour on the lowest heat setting, adding broth or wine to thin the gravy as necessary. When you're ready to serve (the longer you let this simmer, the better it tends to be), put this over a pound of cooked spaghetti, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with green salad, garlic bread, and lots of love! You can also use this sauce as a base for a nice hearty lasagna, and it freezes well. 


From Liliana Hart’s New York Times bestselling MacKenzie family comes a new story by USA Today best-selling author Kimberly Kincaid...

Bartender Kylie Walker went into the basement of The Corner Tavern for a box of cocktail napkins, but what she got was an eyeful of murder. Now she’s on the run from a killer with connections, and one wrong step could be her last. Desperate to stay safe, Kylie calls the only person she trusts—her ex-Army Ranger brother. The only problem? He’s two thousand miles away, and trouble is right outside her door.

Security specialist Devon Randolph might be rough and gruff, but he’ll never turn down a friend in need, especially when that friend is the fellow Ranger who once saved his life. Devon may have secrets, but he’s nearby, and he’s got the skills to keep his buddy’s sister safe…even if one look at brash, beautiful, Kylie makes him want to break all the rules.

Forced on the run, Kylie and Devon dodge bullets and bad guys, but they cannot fight the attraction burning between them. Yet the closer they grow, the higher the stakes become. Will they be able to outrun a brutal killer? Or will Devon’s secrets tear them apart first?

Find Deep Trouble at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and Kobo

About Kimberly

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance novels that split the difference between sexy and sweet, taking the traditional idea of boy-meets-girl and infusing it with a sassy magic all her own. She believes in fiery yet flawed characters destined for a crash-course in falling in loveusually the hard wayand injects her trademark humor as well as poignant touches into her writing to create her stories.

Kimberly's writing journey has led down some bumpy roads (that first manuscript is under the bed, where it is very likely to stay), but there has been some fresh pavement too (her second manuscript earned her very first contest final, and landed the fantastic Maureen Walters at the Curtis Brown Literary Agency). One thing is certainthe wild ride of being a writer is a lot richer in both its ups and downs because of friends and readers along the path.

When Kimberly's not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as "The Pleather Bomber", she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to eclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. She resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.

Find out more at www.kimberlykincaid.com/

Kimberly will be giving away a Kindle or Nook copy of Deep Trouble. Just leave a comment below (or on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen's Facebook Page) to enter the drawing.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Whole Wheat Sour Cream Pancakes with Blueberries, Strawberries and Maple Whipped Cream #recipe #mystery @abbottmysteries


Sometimes things just come together!  We had weekend guests, a new griddle on our stove, a new pancake flipper and a supply of berries, plus some whole wheat flour from our nearby mill.  Snooping through and combining recipes with our own favorite flavors (maple syrup) and methods resulting in these very tasty pancakes.  We loved them!

Whole Wheat Sour Cream Pancakes with Blueberries, Strawberries and Whipped Cream

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp lemon zest (optional but delicious)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
3/4 cup milk
2 extra large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup fresh blueberries (frozen would be fine too)
3 - 4 strawberries, chopped, plus extras for garnish
canola or other quality vegetable oil for griddle
3/4  cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp flavoring for cream: sugar, maple syrup or liqueur
butter for topping pancakes (optional)


Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, zest and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl combine sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract and maple syrup.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until just combined. Don't overbeat! Lumps are your friend.

Add the blueberries and strawberries.

Whip cream with flavoring until thick. Set aside.

Pre-heat the griddle (or skillet if you're using)  Pour the pancake batter 1/3 cup or less at a time and cook until bubbles appear on top and pop.

Next time, I'll try 1/4 cup. The bottom should be golden.  We invested in this great pancake flipper on a whim and we love it.

 Flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute or so until they are nice and brown.

Stack 'em high. Serve with whipped cream and berry garnish if that suits you, or maple syrup and/or butter.


You can save any extras (again in a bag!) in fridge for a day or so or in the freezer.  When you are craving pancakes, just pop a couple in the toaster.

TIP: make sure your baking powder is less than six months old or it won't perform as well. Are we the last people in the world to learn this?

This was a terrific warm weather brunch and we enjoyed it outside in the screened porch

Good-bye winter! Hello, berries!

The shadowy body known as VICTORIA ABBOTT is collaboration between artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother Mary Jane, author of three mystery series.  Together they write the book collector mysteries.  

 By the way, we  (THAT'S VICTORIA ABBOTT) are very excited that THE MARSH MADNESS was shortlisted for a Bony Blithe Award, for 'mysteries that make us smile'.

We think THE MARSH MADNESS might make YOU smile. If you haven't read it yet, it's easy to get!  HERE  Or ask your favorite bookseller.  

And if you have read it, then keep in mind that THE HAMMETT HEX is now ready for pre-order.

Or wherever you like to order books!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ginger Biscuits

Here at MLK we offer you all kinds of recipes: treasured family favorites, crazy things we’ve stumbled over in our travels, quick and easy ones, innovative ones. Everything you will ever need! Which means we’re always looking for another recipe.

Recently at Malice Domestic I stopped at the vintage-bookseller’s table. They always put it right next to the entrance (how cruel!). I should know by now to shut my eyes and march past, but I don’t.

This year’s prize is The Complete Illustrated Cookery Book, with no apparent author, edited by “CHEF.” It contains “Over two thousand recipes” plus hints on just about everything else related to food and kitchens. There are pictures, some in color (all of which the editor promises were made from recipes included in the book). It was published in England in 1934.

The world has changed a wee bit since then. The thing weighs several pounds and is 2-1/2 inches thick, with small print. I sat myself down with it to skim through it, and ended up laughing hysterically. You’ll see why when I give you only a few examples of suggested recipes:

Baked Eels: to skin an eel, hold it with a cloth. The head should be cut off, the skin turned back at the top all round the neck, then drawn downwards. Draw the head one way and the skin the other. Open the fish and remove the inside. Cut off the back bristles. [Needless to say, I will not be cooking eel any time soon.]

To Dry Haddock at Home [another “I don’t think so” recipe]: Remove the eyes, the gills and the inside, and cleanse the blood from the backbone… Now fill the body and eye sockets with salt.”

Liver Crepinettes: One can buy pig’s caul from the butcher. [Not in this town!] …rinse it well and cut it in pieces with a pair of scissors to any size desired. [How do I know what size pieces of pig’s caul I want?]

But wait! There’s more!

Calves Brains en Matelotte: The brains should be washed in cold water with a little salt. Take away the loose skin and any clots of blood…

Is it just me or is this beginning to sound like a CSI episode?

Here’s a good one: Stewed Tendons of Veal [Yes, you read that right—the tendons, aka the gristles—do something else with those nice tender veal breasts they were attached to.]: Put them [the tendons] in a stewpan…put the pan over the fire, then simmer for 4 hours. [To serve] arrange the tendons in a circle round a dish with a fried crouton between each and fill the centre with a puree of green peas. [Are you hungry yet?]

And it goes on. There is a recipe for Larks a la Bourgeoise (doesn’t say where to get the larks); for a Pupton of Pigeons (which in addition to pigeons includes 1 sweetbread, ½ pound of bacon, and 1 ox palate (???). Later there is a recipe for a Turkey Stuffed with Truffles [really?], and instructions for How to Truss Blackcock [excuse me, I wouldn’t know a blackcock if I met one—apparently it’s a kind of black grouse]. The instructions include “scald the feet, peel off the skin, and cut off the toes.” And if you leave the head on, you must remember to tuck it under one wing. And finally, there’s Rook Pie (you must be sure to remove the backbone, else it will be bitter). [Would a crow do?]

Oddly enough (by MLK standards, at least), there is much more emphasis on meat and poultry than on desserts or sweets. But it may be revealing that a former owner marked very few pages—and the one for Rich Bride Cake was one of them. There is (hard to believe) only one recipe for Cookies in the book, with the notation “(An American Recipe).” It involves boiling them in lard. No thanks.

What? You want a recipe? I will gladly offer you Ginger Biscuits.

Ginger Biscuits


1/2 lb flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger (you can use more)
4 oz butter
4 oz castor (white) sugar
2 eggs

I don't know what I did before I
had a kitchen scale! (BTW, it also
works for postage.)


Mix together the flour and salt with the ginger in a basin. Beat the butter and sugar to a cream. Add the eggs one by one, beating each in well, then gradually stir in the flour. Should the mixture be too dry, add a very little milk.

About a tablespoon?

Drop spoonfuls of the mixture on greased paper on a greased tin a very short distance apart. Put them into a rather slow oven [I guessed 325 degrees, and I found 20 minutes worked well at that temperature] and bake a pale brown for 15 to 20 minutes. Note, Ginger Biscuits do not become crisp until they are cold.

That’s the recipe as given. I love the way older cookbooks assume you know what you’re doing in the kitchen and can fill in the blanks! You will note a few rather vague points, like the temperature of the oven, and the size of the spoon. I beefed up the ginger and the butter, and everything worked fine. I will say I approve of the greased baking sheet plus the greased parchment paper—the cookies slid right off.

Actually the cookies or biscuits were rather nice—not too sweet, not too spicy, and easy to make. I might just keep this recipe handy.

Hey, less than two weeks before Dead End Street hits bookstore shelves everywhere! 

No recipes, but I did send Nell back to the Reading Terminal Market again in the book. I can't stay out of that place! Maybe next week I'll give you a Philadelphia recipe? (Not scrapple, I promise--the less you know about that, the better.)

Dead End Street is available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Roasted Coconut Kale from Linda Wiken @ErikaChase

I've really jumped whole-heartedly on the kale train. So I'm always looking for new recipes. I enjoy it in stir fry and salad, roasted and raw. However, there is a certain member of my family, who shall remain nameless, who is not a kale convert. I'm hoping one of these times to hit on the right recipe to bring him over to the green side.

That's why I was thrilled to stumble across this coconut kale. I lost the original recipe but found one that's very similar and think it turned out to be a tasty side dish. Hope you'll like it, too!

Here's what you'll need but I'm playing with quantities as I go along.

1 bunch kale 
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 c. coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp Sriracha
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp sesame oil

Preheat oven to 400F.

 As usual, I choose to start with a bag of chopped kale. It makes life so much easier.

 Choose your amount -- it's up to you! I used about 3 cups..

Next, dish out some shredded coconut.

 Next, prepare the sauce by mixing coconut oil, Sriracha, sesame oil, and tamari.

Place kale and coconut on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle 2/3 of sauce over the kale and coconut mixture. Reserve remaining sauce to add to whatever you're serving with the kale.

Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Watch so it doesn't burn!

Serve with your favorite dishes. I chose grilled trout (basted with the Sriracha-coconut oil-tamari-sesame oil mixture), and fresh baby carrots, again with a touch of sauce and lime juice squeezed over top.


  I'm counting down to the release of TOASTING UP TROUBLE the first in my new Dinner Club Mystery series (includes recipes)
-- coming July 5th!

To pre-order, click here 

Writing as Erika Chase -- the Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery series are available on-line or at your favorite bookstore.

Visit Linda at www.lindakwiken.com
Love to hear from you at my Facebook author page and
on Twitter  @LWiken  
Also appearing at www.killercharacters.com

Visit Erika at www.erikachase.com 
 at my Facebook author page
and on Twitter  @erika_chase.