Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Stir-fry kale is delicious! From author @DarylWoodGerber

Five of us were at the Malice Domestic Conference this past weekend. We hugged and shared stories IN PERSON.  Here's a fun picture as we are on the way to the banquet! We dress up nice.  
On my Facebook page you'll find more photos from the conference. 

CONGRATS TO PEG! Her new book is out this week!
BERRY THE HATCHET!  Pick up a copy!

From Daryl aka Avery:

Today I want to share one of the super foods: kale. [I just noticed that Peg shared kale on the weekend, but this IS  different recipe, so read on!]

Kale - not hard to pronounce. HARD to eat raw. [Peg "massaged" her raw kale. Check it out.]

However, kale is great and easy to eat cooked.  I found a great way to serve kale after adding it to a quiche recipe.  If you stir-fry kale, it softens up and is fabulous and stir-frying doesn't reduce its potency! (Boiling does.) For this recipe, I used "regular-sized kale".  There is baby kale, which I used in another recipe I'll share soon. 

I bought the kale already trimmed in a bag at my grocery store. Kale typically has long stems that need to be removed.

I don't know about you, but, boy, do I love the ease of already-cut vegetables. Makes dinner so much easier. Could I cut it myself? Sure! But these veggies are fresh-sealed and so easy. And you know me...there are days I really like easy! 

Just to update you on your kale knowledge, because I know you're dying to have some data...

Did you know (according to Wikipedia, which we all trust)

  • Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe.
  • It is also known as leaf cabbage.
  • During World War II, the cultivation of kale in the U.K. was encouraged by the Dig for Victory campaign. The vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing
  • The leaf colors range from light green through green, dark green and violet-green to violet-brown. FYI I haven't seen any of the purple kind.
  • I've been told, but haven't tried, that when baked or dehydrated, kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip. Curly kale varieties are usually preferred for chips.

Here you go. Enjoy eating healthy!!



2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons honey
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 10-ounce bag of prewashed, chopped kale

Heat oil in a large DEEP pot on medium-high. {Note: I started out trying this in a skillet. What a mess! You definitely need to use a large pot or wok -- you'll see I switched over to a large, deep pot in the picture below.}

Add onions, sauté for 7 minutes, stirring often.  Add honey, salt, and pepper and cook 2 minutes.

Add kale (big mess in the skillet - oops! LOL), reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 6 minutes or until tender, stirring often to get the kale from the bottom to the top.

Serve immediately.  It will resemble sautéed spinach.

Here are some pictures of the baby kale, which I stir-fried and it was much easier. 
Baby kale looks more like "spinach." Longer stems that are quiet supple and edible.

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

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When a fairytale fantasy night becomes a nightmare, 
Chessa Paxton must run for her life...but will the truth set her free? 
To order: CLICK HERE.

GRILLING THE SUBJECT, the 5th Cookbook Nook Mystery, can be pre-ordered. 
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the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Grilled Cod with Parsley-Caper Pesto

LESLIE BUDEWITZ; I just turned in the manuscript that will become the fourth Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, to be published next spring by Midnight Ink. Part of the fun of writing “foodie fiction” is finding or creating the recipes, but not every recipe is successful, so out they go! Others are yummy, but the scene they were part of gets deleted, or as with this one, they get cut because the recipe section was getting to be longer than the mystery!

I found this Parsley-Caper Pesto in a copy of Eating Well magazine that a friend gave me, and thought it and the Roasted Tomato Pesto and Pesto Trapanese (cherry tomatoes, basil, almonds, garlic, and chiles) would be great additions to Fresca’s line of fresh sauces and pestos, sold only at the Merc in Jewel Bay. Alas, I ended up leaving it out of the book, but that’s no reason for you to suffer!

A small food processor – ours holds 2 cups – is perfect for making pesto. We served this with grilled cod, but it would be just as lovely with tilapia, halibut, or any firm white fish. Be sure to toast the nuts for extra flavor.

And congratulations to Peg Cochran on today's release of BERRY THE HATCHET, the 2d Cranberry Cove Mystery!

Grilled Cod with Parsley-Caper Pesto

2 cups fresh, flat leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see below)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor, and pulse to chop and combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the olive oil, and process until well-combined, again scraping down the sides.

Makes about 1 cup. This will keep in the fridge 3-4 days.

Grill your fish and serve with a dollop of pesto, and a wedge of fresh lemon, if you like.

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 2, 2016

Celebration Time

Yesterday, I turned in the manuscript for MISSION IMPAWSIBLE. Yay! That's something to celebrate. Unfortunately, I missed Malice Domestic over the weekend.

At Malice Domestic, Bookends Literary Agency invites its authors to a wine and cupcake party. And the divine cupcakes come from Georgetown Cupcakes.

It's a wonderful party with friends, wine, and munchies. But the star of the show, other than the lovely literary agents, of course, is definitely the cupcakes.

Since I couldn't go this year, I found a recipe online that is supposedly from Georgetown Cupcakes, and I made my own. This recipe is (I think!) for their Red Velvet Cupcakes. Now, I know what you're thinking. Wait a minute. The cupcakes in the photos aren't red! Okay, they're not. I don't like to use food coloring, so I omitted it. The funny thing is that when you bite into these, there is a hint of pink anyway!

When I wrote The Diva Frosts a Cupcake, I made batch after batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes in an attempt to add the desired red color without food coloring. It led to a blog I wrote, in which I described the process and my conclusions. The closest I came was red beet powder but it didn't yield the bright red to which we're accustomed. So it's a choice you get to make. If you want red, then the best solution is food coloring. Think of these as the cousins of the pretty red ones.

The recipe says it makes 12 cupcakes. I thought 3 cups of flour was a lot for 12 cupcakes, and I was right. This recipe makes 24 regular size cupcakes.

The flavor is mild, but tasty. However the best thing about these cupcakes is the texture. It's phenomenal. I have a feeling that's due to the fascinating addition of baking soda mixed with apple cider vinegar. Yes, you read the correctly. It fizzes up and gets added to the batter!

Do they taste just like Georgetown Cupcakes? Well, I don't have one here to make a comparison. But I would say no. No matter, they're still very good!

For the record, I brought the butter, eggs, and cream cheese to room temperature before using them.

A few hints. The most common complaint about cupcakes is that they're dry. Most cupcakes take only 16-18 minutes to bake. Don't overbake them!

Something that I have read several times is the recommendation to beat the dough and the frosting longer. Up to five minutes! I did that this time and could really see a difference.

Georgetown Cupcake Recipe


3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons no-taste red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake liners in pan.

Mix flour with salt and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar for 3 to 5 minutes. Add each egg and beat well. Mix the food coloring, vanilla, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk together. (If you don't use the food coloring, whisk 1 tablespoon of vanilla, and three tablespoons additional milk with the powdered cocoa.) Add the vanilla mixture to the batter and beat. Alternate adding the flour and the milk, beating after each addition. In a small bowl, mix the apple cider vinegar with the baking soda. It will bubble up. Add to the batter and beat.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake well 2/3rds full. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces cream cheese

Dump everything into a mixing bowl and mix together. When combined, beat 3 to 5 minutes longer.

Beat 5 minutes.
The baking soda fizzes!
Beautiful batter.
Fresh from the oven.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Welcome Kathleen Bridge!


Please join us in welcoming Kathleen Bridge to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Kathleen writes the Hamptons Home and Garden Mysteries. The second book in the series, HEARSE AND GARDENS will be out on Tuesday, May 3rd. Don't miss her great giveaway! See the bottom of the post for details. 

And no matter what you wanted for breakfast when you woke up this morning, I guarantee you'll want French toast after reading this!

In my Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery series, my protagonist, Meg Barrett, doesn’t like to cook, she’d rather refinish an old piece of furniture, spend time in her garden, or catch a killer. On the other hand, Meg’s retired homicide detective father is a gourmet home chef and I’m sure he’d approve of my recipe choice. Make sure to check out Meg’s father’s recipes at the back of my new mystery, Hearse and Gardens.

When I was asked to do a guest post on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, my mind instantly went to one of my family’s favorites that I first had at a bed and breakfast in the Hamptons. I serve it with thick center-cut slab bacon--the bacon tastes great when it meets up with the orange brown sugar syrup on the plate. Yum.

Orange Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

1 8 oz. Package of cream cheese
Orange zest from one orange
¼ cup powdered sugar
Juice from 2 large oranges - approx. 1 cup
½ cup of light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp. milk
8 slices of brioche or white bread
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. butter

Cream cheese filling: In a small bowl mix ½ of the orange zest and powdered sugar into the softened cream cheese. This can be done the night before if you prefer a more orangey flavor. 

Orange Brown Sugar Syrup: Add orange juice, brown sugar, and remaining orange zest to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, stirring often for approximately 5 minutes. Reduce to lowest heat.

In shallow bowl whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla.

Spread a generous amount of the cream cheese mixture between two slices of white or brioche bread. Do this four times. Melt butter in large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Dip each cream cheese sandwich into the egg mixture, turn, then add to frying pan one at a time. Turn when lightly browned.

Serve with warm Orange Brown Sugar Syrup.

Serves 4

Hearse and Gardens, A Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery by Kathleen Bridge, May 3, 2016. A Hamptons interior designer deals with skeletons in the closet in the new mystery from the national bestselling author of Better Homes and Corpses.

 Available at:


And at most independent booksellers.

fb: KathleenBridge 
twitter: @kathleenbridge  

Kathleen has very generously offered to give away a copy of her book for kindle or in paperback via Amazon to a US winner or an Amazon gift card to a Canadian winner. To enter, leave a comment with your email address so Kathleen can contact you! Good luck!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Massaged Kale Salad #Recipe @Peg Cochran

I first read about the concept of "massaging" kale in the Huffington Post. It's not as kinky as it sounds--trust me, this is a G rated recipe!  Since I am always looking for new ways to get my husband to like kale, I decided to give it a try.  Ingredients are simple:

Bunch of kale
Olive oil - a tablespoon or two

First you need to remove the tough center stems from the kale.  The easiest way to do this is to fold the leaf in half and run your knife down the stem.  Then while the leaf is folded in half, you can slice across it to make salad-sized pieces.

 Kale stripped of its stems and cut into bite-sized pieces.  
This is pre-massage.  It looks a little tense, doesn't it?

Place your cut up kale in a salad bowl.  Add approximately one tablespoon of olive oil (quantity depends on how big your bunch of kale is.)  Add a sprinkling of salt to taste then begin the massage!  Rub the pieces of kale between your fingertips.  As you rub, you will notice the leaves become silkier and less "scratchy" to the touch.  Continue until you have massaged all of the leaves--it will take a couple of minutes.  The kale should be soft and silky and taste almost sweet.

 Ahhhhh.   Doesn't that kale look more relaxed now?  
This is the salad post-massage. 

Serve as is or add a dash of your favorite vinegar.


To celebrate the release of Berry the Hatchet, the second book in my Cranberry Cove series, I am giving away one copy to someone who leaves a comment below!

The entire town of Cranberry Cove is popping with excitement. Monica Albertson is baking cranberry goodies by the dozen and shopkeepers are decking out their storefronts for the first annual Winter Walk—an event dreamed up by the mayor to bring visitors to the town during a normally dead time of year.

But it’s the mayor who turns up dead during the grand opening ceremony, his lifeless body making its entrance in a horse-drawn sleigh. Monica’s mother and stepmother quickly become the prime suspects when it’s discovered that the mayor was dating both of them, and to make things worse, her half brother Jeff uncovers a clue buried near one of the bogs on Sassamanash Farm. Now it’s up to Monica to find out who really put the mayor on ice.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Irish Pizza

Wait, ­the Irish don’t make pizza, do they? Well, this didn’t start out as pizza. After last week’s fish casserole, I got to thinking about smoked salmon (which I adore, and I do know a great place that smokes their own in West Cork) and what to do with it. Not another casserole, so what about a crust? No—puff pastry (which even out of a frozen package is far better than my pie crusts)! And cheese. But not Italian cheese—how about goat cheese? A nice sharp tang to offset the smoky creaminess of the salmon. And some good Irish cheese (Kerrygold, which does use some milk from Cork). And maybe some of my homegrown chives (which overwintered quite well, thank you) for color contrast and a hint of onion.

It was only an hour or two later that I figured out what I had done: put together the colors of the Irish flag. Which is important because this week marks the hundred anniversary of what most Irish people regard as the birth of the Republic, with the infamous Easter Uprising, a disastrous and poorly planned confrontation with British troops in the heart of Dublin. If things had ended there, probably tempers would have cooled, but the British decided they had to execute the leaders of the uprising, which rallied the rest of the population to the cause of a free Ireland. So this is my celebration. 

The Irish flag (bratach na hÉireann) is a vertical tricolor of green, white and orange (in that order, left to right). The green represents the Gaelic tradition of the country, the orange represents the followers of King William III (of Orange) in Ireland (his troops defeated King James II at the Battle of the Boyne), and the white stands for the hope for peace between the two. It was first raised over the General Post Office in Dublin in 1916 and came to be seen as the national flag, and symbolizes the hope for union.

Here endeth the history lesson. Let’s eat!

Irish Pizza

1 piece frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

8 oz. smoked salmon (you don’t have to buy the expensive stuff—a package of the tag ends would do just fine and it’s cheaper)

4 oz. goat cheese (okay, here I faced a dilemma: goat cheese is squishy, in general, so how do I spread it evenly over the crust? I froze it first, then grated it coarsely!)

4 oz. Kerrygold Irish Cheddar, grated

1 bunch chives (however many you like)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and lay the thawed piece of puff pastry on top.

Isn't that a great rolling pin? It was a gift from
my sister in law, who knows the guy who
made it.
If the smoked salmon pieces are large and/or raggedy, chop them up into smaller pieces (but not too small).

Chill your cheese, then grate it. Roughly chop your chives.

Sprinkle the grated goat cheese evenly over the crust. Place the salmon pieces on top, then sprinkle with the chives. Add a top layer of the cheddar. (Don’t overload the crust or it won’t rise well.)

At this point a little oil might be good. I’d suggest butter, which would be more Irish, but I don’t think that would work, so a neutral vegetable oil or oil will do just fine. Add just enough to keep the toppings from burning while the crust is cooking.

Bake for…well that’s a little tricky. Bake until the crust has risen and the cheese in lightly browned. The edges will rise first, but be patient and wait until the center had risen too (it won’t go as far as the edges). Keep checking every couple of minutes to make sure things aren’t browning too quickly, but it wasn’t a problem. Total time was probably 20-25 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and let cool briefly, then cut into serving pieces. This recipe served two of us (my husband scarfed down the last piece as a late snack), but to serve more just duplicate it (the frozen puff pastry comes in a package with two, so you’d be all set).

Now raise a glass of Guinness (or Murphy's stout, which is made in Cork city), or maybe a shot of good whiskey (quite a few labels are made in Middleton, which is also in Cork), and salute one hundred years of Irish history!

[If I don't respond to your comments quickly, it's because I'm hanging out with all my cozy-writer friends--and probably some of you readers--at Malice Domestic in Maryland.]

A Turn for the Bad (County Cork Mystery #4) came out in February 2016 and was a Barnes and Noble bestseller.

The next book doesn't yet have a name or a cover, but it will appear in February 2017. I can tell you it involves an old open case and a big snowstorm (yes, they do happen in Ireland, if rarely)!