Saturday, October 1, 2016

One Pan Chicken & Orzo #Recipe @PegCochran

One Sunday, when it was too rainy to grill (I will grill until the last possible minute and even then I'll shovel the snow off the grill), I went looking for something that a) didn't require a trip to the grocery store and b) was easy to make and c) was a complete, one pan dinner.  I found a recipe for chicken with orzo. 

Of course I changed a few things (what else is new, right?)  I thought the proportions of orzo to chicken were way off--we would be overwhelmed with orzo.  I cut down on the quantity and correspondingly cut down on the broth.  I also increased the tomatoes because I hate having 1/4 of a can sitting in the refrigerator until mold grows on top and I can throw it out!

And I added the olives because I like them and I had them!  I thought they added a nice briny touch to the dish.


4 to 6 chicken thighs—with bone or boneless/skinless—whichever you prefer
a glug of olive oil – about 1 tablespoon
1 cup orzo pasta
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning or a blend of
1 cup chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
several grinds of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
a handful of Kalamata olives, cut in half

Heat olive oil in sauté pan and add chicken thighs, skin side down (if using thighs with skin.)   

Saute until skin is nicely browned (skinless thighs won’t brown as much and will take less time.)

Remove chicken and place on a plate.  Add orzo to pan and sauté until golden.

Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté until onion softens.

Put chicken back in pan, add broth, tomatoes, seasonings and olives.  Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat until chicken is done (approximately 20 minutes) and broth has been absorbed and orzo is al dente.

 Out Now!

Friday, September 30, 2016

A Pupton of Apples

This past Monday was Johnny Appleseed’s birthday. The most recent book in my Orchard Mystery series, Seeds of Deception, is coming out next week. A nice alignment of the stars, especially since Johnny (an exceedingly distant cousin of mine) got his start in Massachusetts!

A part of Jefferson's orchard
In the new book, the 10th of the series, Meg and Seth, now finally married, kind of improvise a honeymoon, with the goal of visiting Jefferson’s Monticello (Jefferson’s orchards for Meg, an amazing house for Seth). Jefferson installed his orchard before he even began building his house, so clearly apples were important to him. 

There are cookbooks from Monticello. In fact, Thomas Jefferson himself left some handwritten recipes, which have been published. I don’t have that cookbook (although I may need to get it!), and I wouldn’t presume to borrow such recipes without attribution. However, I do have a copy of The Williamsburg Art of Cookery that my grandmother purchased in 1951, which draws upon a range of 18th and early 19th century recipes, as originally written, so I present you with one of those recipes, A Pupton of Apples, originally written by Mrs. Martha Bradley. Apparently she was an important figure in 18th-century cookery. I thought I’d try it, in honor of Johnny and Meg and Seth.

A Pupton of Apples


These are Cortlands, if you're curious

18 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
Okay, how big was an apple in 1800? Eighteen apples is a lot. I used nine.

3 Tblsp water
5 oz. sugar (by weight)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Hello? You mind telling me how much? A tablespoon? A pound?

1/4 lb (1 stick) butter, softened
6 egg yolks

Put the apple quarters in a saucepan and add the water and sugar. Set over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally. When they are tender, add the cinnamon. Transfer to a large bowl and cool—the mixture will thicken. Um, are these supposed to be reduced to mush or still lumpy? Do I mash them or just go with the way they are? Please explain! 

Take some grated breadcrumbs. As I said above: HOW MUCH??? I decided that two cups seemed reasonable. I made my own breadcrumbs from some artisanal (white) bread. Nobody mentioned whether they should be fresh or dry.

Beat the six egg yolks and blend with the butter. Add the breadcrumbs.

Combine this mixture with the cooled apples. And you get (tada!) a pile of lumpy mush.

Put the mixture into a baking dish. Will someone please explain what an 1800 baking dish is? China or metal? Deep or shallow? How well filled should it be?

Preheat the oven to “slow”. I would guess 350 degrees. Bake for half an hour.

When it is done, turn it out onto a dish and serve hot. Uh, about that “turn out” part—yes, it came out of my (metal) baking dish. Or at least, most of it did. It sort of held together, so maybe I guessed right on the breadcrumbs. But it’s still lumpy.

Mrs. Bradley suggested serving with fresh parsley. I think I’ll pass on that. 

My first reaction was to whip up a lot of cream and smother the pupton with it, to hide its, uh, irregularities. Of course, dining rooms were rather dark back in those days, so maybe nobody would notice the cake is lopsided and lumpy. Right. Serve your guests plenty of wine before dessert.


But being of a persevering nature, I decided to hunt for an alternate recipe (interesting what comes up when you google “pupton”), and found one from Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery, which dates from 1774. Guess what? It’s even more vague. It starts out with “pare some apples”. Okay, how many is “some”? And farther on, “stir in a handful of bread.” What’s a handful? (I’m going to guess one cup or so.)

Whatever. I decided to give it one more try. Despite changing the proportions of the dish, it still came out like a lumpy mess. I’m going to guess that 18th-century baking dishes were made of smooth pottery. And whipped cream was good camouflage.

This much I will state with assurance: Serve the pupton with a good cup of coffee, which history tells us was one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite beverages. See the Monticello website

Oh, that's right: the book is coming out next Tuesday! 

I've included some small inside jokes. For example, the cover is based on a house I lived in when I was five. And in the book, Meg's home town is based on the one where I grew up in New Jersey (which has changed surprisingly little, except for the home prices). She takes Seth on a tour of the place, and finds . . . a clue to the inevitable murder!

Find it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

French Vegetable Soup with Pistou #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: This recipe is based on one from the fabulous David Lebovitz's newsletter. If you like reading about Paris and French food, I recommend you subscribe. He was a chef at Alice Water's restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, but many years ago moved to Paris and is excellent at translating French ways to Americans.

Lucy with Notre Dame Gargoyles

I remember eating a soup like this when I was a student in the 1970s in France and terribly homesick. A French family used to invite my roommate and me to Sunday dinner every week because they knew we were lonely for home--wasn't that sweet? The mom would sometimes serve this soup so making it brought back some fun memories. John says I'd choose France for every vacation if I could--he's not far off! Anyway, back to soup...

I veered quite a bit from David's recipe and you can move back to his or further away from both of ours – the recipe is very flexible. It's good for someone on a low sodium diet, because the pistou (essentially pesto without the nuts) packs a big flavor punch. I used the vegetables that I either had in the garden or saw at the weekly farmers market. But you could also add potatoes, tomatoes, celery...

Ingredients for the soup

Two medium zucchini
2 to 3 leeks, well washed
Carrots, either three large or five or six smaller
Green beans
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1 cup dried white beans (I used Navy)
1 32 ounce box low sodium chicken broth
Handful of small pasta, if you like
Chopped tomatoes if you like
2 sprigs thyme (which I forgot, darn it!

The day before you plan to make the soup, soak the white beans overnight in water. Rinse them, and then cover them with water in a large pot and simmer until soft with two bay leaves. (This could take an hour or so.) When the beans are soft, add the chicken broth to the pot and keep simmering.

Chop the leeks. Chop the green beans into bite-size pieces. Chop the zucchini likewise. Chop the garlic cloves. I used my food processor to chop the carrots, and didn't even rinse it before starting the pistou. And that explains the little flecks of orange you will see later.

In a large frying pan, heat some good olive oil and sauté the leeks, the garlic, carrots, onion, zucchini and saute until soft. Add the green beans and sautéed them a bit too. Scrape this mixture into the bean pot and simmer everything until soft, about 20-30 minutes. You may if you wish add a handful of pasta at the end, but you may have to add more liquid too.

For the pistou

One clove garlic
One small bunch basil, cleaned and leaves removed (my favorite veggie guy at the market had Thai basil so that's what I tried)
1/4 cup good olive oil
About an ounce Parmesan cheese

Chop the garlic in the food processor, then add the olive oil. Add the Parmesan cheese in smaller pieces and chop that in. Finally add the basil and pulse until everything is combined.


Serve the bowls of soup with a heaping tablespoon of the basil mixture dropped in the center. Then each diner can stir his or her pistou/pesto into the soup. Or pass the pistou in a separate bowl if you have concerned eaters...

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries.  Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Soy Sauce Chicken Drummettes from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl aka Avery:

For the past week, I've been on the go, running around like a chicken with its head cut off (a disturbing image, by the way - funny on a Family Guy Youtube of Leghorn, but I didn't think I should post that here 'cuz it's sort of bloody, in a funny way.  Here's the link if you want to laugh out loud.)

Still photo from YouTube so you remember who Leghorn is.
Anyway, I'm exhausted from a weekend of a family event, followed by a library event, a lot of driving in traffic, and lots of emotions.

Authors (me) Diane Vallere, Andrew Kaplan, Carline Neil,
Glen Erik Hamilton and Brett Battles.

I even wrote Krista and asked her if she got the number of the bus that ran me down!  LOL

I am hydrating today, eating right, and writing!  Lots of writing. Deadlines are looming.

To relax, I took Sparky to the coffee shop. I write well there.
He was a hit with the outside crowd! Greeted everyone.
So what could be better than putting together a really easy meal of chicken wings? These little guys cook up in minutes. They're perfect with a simple green salad.

And they are the easiest appetizer ever for a party!

Coming on the heels of our book club week, I might add that they would be great at a book club. Messy, but napkins or wet-naps would solve that problem.


Soy Sauce Chicken Drummettes

1 package chicken drummettes (about 1 pound)
½ cup soy sauce (if you need gluten-free soy sauce, that works fine * I use the San J variety)
½ cup water

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil. 

Rinse the drummettes and set them in the foil, skin side up.

Pour in the soy sauce and water.  Seal the foil.

Bake the drummettes for 30 minutes.

Open the foil and turn the oven to broil.  Broil the drummettes for 5-10 minutes until golden brown.

Serve hot.

(You do NOT need to turn the drummettes.)

Savor the mystery and say cheese!
Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

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.

GRILLING THE SUBJECT, the 5th Cookbook Nook Mystery, is out!
Click here to order.

the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery is out!
Click to order.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Coffeehouse Doughnut Muffins + Freebies for You and Your Book Club from Cleo Coyle

It’s the end of Book Club Week at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and I'm happy to send a final shout-out to all the book clubs who've given our books literary love. Cheers to you!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

If your book club plans to feature a Coffeehouse Mystery or Haunted Bookshop Mystery, I would love to know. Drop me a line at my public e-mail box: 


And if you're new to this site or our series, scroll down to my FAQC (Frequently Asked Questions of Cleo)...

* * * * * *

Now a bestseller in
paperback! To learn
click here.


THANKS to our wonderful readers! After a year on sale in hardcover, e-book, audio, and Mystery Guild editions, you helped the newly released paperback edition of our 15th Coffeehouse Mystery, DEAD TO THE LAST DROP, hit the TOP 20 Bestseller List among all mass market paperback books sold at Barnes and Noble (week of Sept. 20th).


*  *  *


Frequently Asked Questions of Cleo

1) Question: Which of your books should I read first?

Answer: There are 15 books in our bestselling Coffeehouse Mystery series, with the two most recent (#14) Once Upon a Grind and (#15) Dead to the Last Drop now available in paperback. 

Our 16th Coffeehouse Mystery, Dead Cold Brew, will be released by Penguin Random House in hardcover this January. But you don’t have to read our series in order. Each stands alone and focuses on a different theme. So choose what appeals to you...




Download a Free Title Checklist for
all 15 Coffeehouse Mysteries
(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here

2) Q: Is there a website with the order of your titles?

A: Yes! To see a website with our books in order and other fun info, simply click here and scroll down.

3) Q: Do you have Reading Group Guides for my book club?

A: Yes! You can download free Book Club Discussion Questions for many of our books at our Reading Group Guide page, just click here

4) Q: What are your books about?

A: My husband and I have been living and working in New York City for three decades, and our Coffeehouse Mysteries—a unique blend of crime, humor, action, and romance—are set in and around the Village Blend, a landmark coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. The coffeehouse is managed by Clare Cosi, a divorced, single mom who continually finds herself mixed up in murder. View the series trailer by clicking the arrow in the window below...



5) Q. Who else is in the cast besides Clare?

Madame, octogenarian
owner of The Village Blend
A. Clare Cosi is often assisted in her city-wide sleuthing with a colorful cast of characters. 

Click here to visit their avatar page and read about them in their own words. In brief, they include...

Madame Dreyfus-Allegro-Dubois, the octogenarian owner of the century-old Village Blend...

Her adult son, Matt Allegro, a globe-trotting coffee hunter...

A quirky family of young baristas, whom Clare not only manages but often mothers, and...

A good man and smart cop, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, who becomes emotionally involved with Clare over the course of the series.

Mike Quinn,
NYPD Detective

6) Q: Are your books available in audio?

A: Yes! You can see the entire line in CD and audio download format here on Downpour and on Amazon here and in iTunes here (scroll all the way down to see the audiobooks). 
They’re produced by AudioGo (BBC America Audiobooks) and distributed by our new audio partner, Blackstone Audio.

7) Q: What book would you select for a book club discussion?

A: DEAD TO THE LAST DROP is the most recent Coffeehouse Mystery to be published, and the themes explored in this mystery are both timely and timeless for book club discussions.

Even better, when your book club is finished reading, you can take the "Book Detective" Quiz to see how well you remember the events from this fast-paced, entertaining story. To start the quick, click the green button below...

In the meantime...

To take a peek at the book's
recipe section (with foodie photos),
click here or on the image below.

Dead to the Last Drop 
is a culinary mystery with 
more than 25 delicious recipes!

See the free illustrated 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

Cleo Coyle’s 
Coffee Shop Doughnut Muffins

Delicious muffins are always on the menu at our fictional Village Blend, the century-old coffeehouse in New York's picturesque Greenwich Village.

Clare bakes up these amazing Doughnut Muffins in our 9th entry, Roast Mortem (a murder mystery about arson that's also a tribute to firefighters). Tender and sweet, these muffins are dusted with cinnamon sugar and one bite will remind you of an old-fashioned cake doughnut, the kind you might order at a diner counter with a hot cuppa joe. 

These Doughnut Muffins would make a fantastic snack for any book club. Served with coffee, tea, or cocoa, they'll make your discussion of Clare Cosi's latest case even more cozy. :)

To download this recipe in a free PDF you can print, save, or share, click here.

Makes 12 standard-size muffins 

For the batter:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork
1 cup whole milk 
2-½ cups all-purpose flour
2-½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the cinnamon-sugar topping:

½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Step 1—Prep your oven and pan: First preheat your oven to 350° F. This recipe bakes up nice, coffee shop-sized muffins with generous tops, so lightly spray the tops of your muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. This will prevent the tops from sticking to the pan. Line the muffin cups with paper holders.

Step 2—Make the batter: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs and milk and continue mixing. Stop the mixer. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg and mix only enough to combine ingredients. Batter will be thick. Do not over mix at this stage or you will develop the gluten in the flour and toughen the muffins.

Step 3—Bake: Using two tablespoons (one to scoop, the other to scrape in the thick batter), fill each cup to the top, dividing any remaining batter among the 12 cups.

Bake for 20-25 min­utes, or until the muffin tops spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. After a few minutes out of the oven, remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack. (Muffins that remain long in a hot pan may end up steaming, and the bottoms may become tough.)

Step 4—Finish with cinnamon-sugar topping: Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Melt the butter, brush it lightly over the muffin tops...

Roll the buttery tops in the bowl of cinnamon-sugar.

To download this recipe in a free PDF that
you can print, save, or share, click here, and...

Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.


Download free Coffeehouse
Book Club Discussion Guides
by clicking here.

* * *

Our bestselling hardcover is
now a bestseller in paperback!

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

Amazon * B&N

A Mystery Guild Selection
A Baker & Taylor "Trends" Pick
Three "Best of Year" Reviewer Lists

*  *  *

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

* * * 

Sign up for Cleo Coyle's 
Coffeehouse Newsletter: Recipes, 
News, Fun Contests, Videos... 
Click here to subscribe.