Friday, May 26, 2017

It's Asparagus Season!

I like asparagus. I like it steamed, with butter (oh, all right--I like almost anything with butter). I don’t like it drowned in sauce—hollandaise is good stuff but it kind of overpowers the delicate taste of fresh asparagus. But there are some things that it goes nicely with, and I found a new recipe!

Chicken with Asparagus and Leeks

2 medium leeks (white and green parts 
only, not the whole thing), sliced into 1/3” rounds

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
a few grinds of black pepper

chicken breasts or thighs (a note: chicken breasts vary widely in size these days, from normal to ridiculously large, so saying use two or four really doesn’t help you much. I prefer white meat so I’m using two monster breasts, which together weigh maybe three to four pounds. This should be enough for two adults with healthy appetites with some left over for lunch the next day.)

1/2 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

3/4 lb medium asparagus with the tough ends trimmed off, cut on an angle into 2-3 pieces per stalk

1 Tblsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tblsp fresh dill, chopped


Rinse the leeks to get rid of any grit.

Heat 2 Tblsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot (but not smoking). Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, turning occasionally, until they are just turning golden (about 15-18 minutes). Remove them from the skillet.

Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In another skillet add the rest of the oil and saute the chicken pieces (f you’re using bone-in breasts or thighs, cook the skin side first), about 12-16 minutes depending on the thickness of the pieces (the chicken will finish cooking in the next step). Pour the fat out of the pan and discard.

Add the wine to the pan, bring to a simmer, and cook, scraping up the bits on the bottom (about 1 minute). Add the broth to the pan, then return the chicken pieces (skin side up). Lower the heat to medium-low and cover, cooking until the chicken is cooked through (maybe another 15 minutes—as I said, it depends on the chicken).

In the first skillet you used, cook the asparagus pieces in 2 Tblsp of water, covered, over medium heat, for about 5 minutes (don’t let the asparagus get mushy!). Remove the skillet from the heat and add 1/2 tsp of lemon zest, a bit of salt and a pinch of pepper. Stir gently.

To serve, place a chicken piece in each plate, then add the asparagus and the reserved leeks, Reheat the broth, add the lemon juice, then ladle the liquid over the chicken in the bowls. Sprinkle the top with chopped dill and some more lemon zest. You can serve this with rice or pasta.

Goodness! I'm in the middle of editing two books right now, but nothing new is coming until November! Don't forget me!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Grilled Black Cod with White Wine, Lime, and Sriracha Sauce #recipe from Linda Wiken, author

I love Alaska Black Cod. Living inland, I buy it frozen but it never fails to turn out flaky and moist. I'm always keen to try different marinades and sauces though so this is one I tweeked from the newspaper and it's a keeper.

I will say up front that next time I'll amp up the heat by adding more Sriracha sauce or maybe add some chili flakes along with it. And, I used basil olive oil to give the flavor an extra kick. However, feel free to use a plain virgin olive oil and add whatever herbs you prefer.

Your cod filet needs to sit in the marinade for at least half-an-hour, so keep that in mind. Also, this is a recipe for one; increase the ingredients as required for more portions.

What you'll need:

1 black cod filet
3/4 tsp. fresh lime juice
3/4 tsp. white wine
3/4 tsp. basil virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. Sriracha sauce
pinch of sea salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper

What to do:

Start by squeezing lime juice then combine it with white wine, olive oil, Sriracha Sauce, salt and pepper. Place in a plastic bag along with the cod filet. Seal the bag and let the filet sit in the marinade for at least 1/2 hour.

Remove filet and discard ingredients. Place the cod filet on a piece of aluminum foil and barbecue for at least 12 min. The fish should be flaky when ready.

Serve with wedges of lime and some more of that chilled white wine.

ROUX THE DAY, A Dinner Club Mystery is now available in paper and as an e-book. 
Recipes included!

The first in the Dinner Club Mysteries is available at your favorite bookstore and on-line, as a paperback and as an e-book.  
Recipes included!

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

Visit Linda at
Love to hear from you at my Facebook author page and
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lemon Blueberry Pie #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl aka Avery:

This pie can't compare beauty-wise to the gorgeous pie our guest Kim Davis shared on Sunday. That was truly exceptional. All her baking is beautiful, as are her photos. But the flavor of this pie is fabulous, so "get over" my imperfect crust LOL and enjoy the flavor!

Memorial Day: I don't know about you, but on Memorial Day (which is coming up in a few days), I like to enjoy traditional fare with family and/or friends. Hot dogs and hamburgers, corn on the cob, chips and dip, fruit salad!  I like the same foods for the Fourth of July—food that makes me think All American.  After cherry pie and apple pie, the pie that makes me think American is lemon pie. 

Lemon pie also makes me think of my mother. She liked all things lemon—frozen lemon pie, lemon chiffon pie, lemon cupcakes, lemon bars, margaritas. (Okay, those are made with lime!) My mother was a hoot. She loved to throw parties. She loved having her friends around her. She loved her family. She loved to work and play golf and read. I look back now and think, wow, I had no idea I was so much like my mother. 


Which brings me back to Memorial Day. May we honor those who have fallen!

From Wikipedia: (some of which I knew, but some of which I didn't know. How about you?)

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the US for remembering those who died while serving in the country's armed forces. (Knew that.) The holiday, which is currently observed every year on the last  Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War, 1868, established as a time to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers. (Did not know that.)  By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate traditions (which were celebrated on different days) merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor ALL Americans who died while in the military service.

Thank you to all those who served or are serving! I love our country. We are blessed.

Lemon Blueberry Custard Pie

1 unbaked pie crust (I made mine gluten-free)

1 tablespoon butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour (I used gluten-free sweet rice flour)
3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 ½ lemons)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 full lemon)
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 egg whites
1 ¾ cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add flour (*or gluten-free flour if necessary), lemon juice and lemon zest. 

Beat in the egg yolks, then add the milk and mix until incorporated.

In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. This takes about 3-4 minutes. 

Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture. Pour the filling into the pie crust.

Scatter blueberries evenly over the top. You might want to push a few down. The pie will be full!

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 45- 50 minutes or until the filling is set.

TIP: Cover the pie with foil after 30 minutes to avoid too much browning!!!

* Remove pie from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. May be served room temperature if you want to make the pie earlier in the day.

Savor the mystery!

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A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, the 1st in the French Bistro Mysteries, is coming November 2017. Can Mimi clear her name before the killer turns up the heat? Click here to order.

GRILLING THE SUBJECT, the 5th Cookbook Nook Mystery, is out!
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A mother he thought was dead. A father he never knew. 
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Why Coffee is our Secret Ingredient to Making Amazing Baby Back or Spare Ribs by Cleo Coyle

Coffee? Yes! A quick bath in a few simple cups of coffee is our secret for making the most amazingly juicy, tender, and flavorful ribs. The reason? Most marinades contain some sort of acid—vinegar, lemon or other fruit juice, even alcohol. But too much acid makes meat mushy. (Likewise, boiling ribs robs them of flavor and destroys good texture.) But coffee contains just enough acidity to help the tenderizing process, yet preserve the meat’s texture. 

There are two additional ingredients that will help you create spectacular ribs. One is salt. It’s not only a flavor enhancer, it also breaks down the connective tissues, which creates tenderness. Sugar is the final ingredient that helps to evenly brown and caramelize the surface without drying it. Putting it all together, here is our quick and easy, one pan marinade for making heavenly pork ribs...

This recipe will work with baby back ribs (pictured above)
or spare ribs, shown in my photo below...

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

Click here for free recipe PDF.

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

A Note from Cleo...

My husband and I love the advantages of doing our ribs this way. A simple bath for one quick hour in a few cups of coffee not only provides a fast, foolproof marinade, it also allows us to have fun experimenting with new barbecue sauces every time we make the recipe. 

We might have a tangy sauce one week, a spicy sauce another week, or try a mustard-based sauce. We enjoy experimenting with new sauces and brands on the market and this recipe allows us to do just that. So have fun and eat with joy! ~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's
Coffee Ribs


2 - 4 pounds pork ribs (baby back or spareribs)

2 - 3 teaspoons coarsely ground sea salt or Kosher salt  

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 - 3 cups (or so) brewed coffee, cooled

1 cup (or so) barbecue sauce* with at least one key ingredient (*see below)

*Key Ingredient: Your barbeque sauce will provide the third secret to great ribs—some form of sugar, which promotes the caramelization of the meat’s surface. So look for a BBQ sauce that contains one of the following: sugar,
brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, or honey.

(1) Right out of the refrigerator, the cold ribs should be placed into a large pan and sprinkled with half of the salt and pepper on all sides. Separate ¼ cup of your BBQ sauce and rub all over the ribs. 

(2) Add the cooled brewed coffee to the pan (as shown below, enough for the rib rack’s bottom to be soaking in it), cover with cling wrap and marinate at room temperature for one hour. At the thirty minute mark, flip the ribs to coat evenly. Do not marinate for longer than 1 hour.

(3) Preheat your oven to 350° F. Place a grilling rack over a roasting pan (as shown in my photo below). Coat your grilling rack with nonstick spray. Remove ribs from marinade, and discard the liquid. Do not rinse the ribs. Once again, you salt and pepper both sides, then place ribs on the grilling rack, fat side up. 

This recipe will work for baby back ribs or spare ribs.
The photo above shows spare ribs ready for the oven...

Cooking process (total time 90 to 100 minutes):

1 - Cook for 20 minutes, fat side up, and flip.

2 - Cook for 20 more minutes, fat side down

3 - Flip ribs over (fat side up again), paint with BBQ sauce, and cook for a third 20 minute period.

4 - Flip the ribs again, paint with sauce, and continue cooking for a fourth 20 minute period.

5 - Flip one more time (fat side up) and apply the rest of your sauce. Kick up the oven to 375° F. and cook 10 to 20 minutes more. 

Coffee Spare Ribs
resting before cutting...

Coffee Baby Back Ribs
resting before cutting... 


Many pitmasters advise that correctly cooked pork ribs should not have meat falling off the bone (don’t shoot the messenger, but this means they’re over-cooked). When you take a bite, the meat should come off with a slight tug, leaving a clean bone (as shown below)...

The meat should be tender and juicy with a gentle chew (like a good steak). After the ribs are done, let them rest for 15 minutes before cutting to allow juices inside the meat to re-collect, and...

Click here for the
free recipe PDF.

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Eat (and read) with joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Learn more about us here.
Friend us on facebook here.
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Visit our online coffeehouse here.

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