Saturday, February 6, 2016

Baked Eggs #Recipe @PegCochran

A friend introduced me to the concept of baking eggs.  They make a wonderful breakfast or brunch dish or even supper when you've over indulged and want something light.  Best of all, they're very easy to make!

Ingredients:
Eggs (as many as you need)
Butter
Optional items: ham, cheese, Parmesan, prosciutto


Generously butter an oven safe ramekin or gratin dish




 Add chopped ham or prosciutto



 Top with eggs (a double yolk--it's supposed to be lucky!)



 Top with a generous grating of cheese of your choice--in this case Parmesan.  Top with slivers of butter.


Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until desired doneness.

                                                    Lucille's fourth adventure--out now!


"Fun, fast-paced, light-hearted cozy to relax and enjoy reading. It's always a treat to chuckle at Lucille and Flo and the scrapes those two ladies get into trying to solve a mystery."

Catch up with me on Facebook or visit my web site





Friday, February 5, 2016

Steamed Chili-Garlic Fish

by Sheila Connolly

I like to eat fish. My father liked to eat fish (probably because it was fast and easy to cook, not to mention fairly healthy). He even had a surf-casting rod for the Jersey Shore (not that I remember him catching anything). When we lived inland, he’d track down a fish vendor. I will admit I took one look at some raw tuna he brought home once and said, “that’s not fish!” but that didn’t stop him.

Even though we live in Massachusetts, it’s hard to get interesting fish around here (one of my ongoing pet peeves). All right, I know—fish species have been overfished, which means the boats have to go increasingly far out to sea to find anything, and that means it has to be held for a while, and that means freezing them. I understand, really. And to be fair, the quick freezing process works pretty well. (Except for flounder, which I’ve found turns into a pile of mush very fast when you try to cook the once-frozen kind).

But there are dependable, firm-fleshed, large-flake white fish that are pretty versatile, which means you can use them in almost any recipe you can think of. Think of fish like cod and haddock and maybe hake as a blank canvas with which you can make almost recipe—creamy or crunchy, sweet or sour. And it cooks quickly, as my father knew.

This cod hangs inside the Massachusetts
State House in Boston
Since this is Massachusetts, I vote for cod, followed closely by haddock—we usually get whichever is cheaper at our market, and the prices do vary a lot. (Could I tell them apart in a blind tasting? I doubt it.) But cod is still “our” fish.

This is a quick and tasty recipe that’s great for a cold, damp winter’s night.


Steamed Chile-Garlic Cod
Ingredients (for two servings):


2 8-oz cod (or other white fish) fillets
4 Tblsp Asian sweet chili sauce (also 
   known as Thai chili sauce)
2 tsp rice vinegar
4 tsp soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Lime slices (optional)


Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the glaze, in a small bowl mix the chili sauce, rice vinegar and soy sauce.


Cut two sheets of parchment paper, large enough to wrap your fillets. (Note: it’s hard to get two fillets that are exactly the same size. Don’t worry about it.) Dab a bit of the sauce on each piece of parchment paper, then place one fillet on each sheet and brush with the glaze. Top with the garlic slices (and the lime if you’re using it).



Fold the parchment paper over the fillets, crimping the edges to seal the packets. Place them in a baking pan.






Bake 12-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fillets). Remove the pan from the oven, place the packets on a plate and open them carefully (watch out for the steam!). 



Drizzle any of the juices from the packets over the fillets and serve with rice (okay, I got daring—I had some black rice hanging around and I thought it would look pretty with the fish. If you’re wondering, the black rice cooks just like white rice but takes longer.)

Oh, right, there's this new book out this week. 
Notice there's a boat on the cover, which may explain why I just gave you a fish recipe.

A Turn for the Bad is available at





And here's a fish-seller at the Skibbereen
Farmer's Market. Gorgeous (the fish, that is),
aren't they? And it's a treat to watch the
people fillet the fish--fast!






Thursday, February 4, 2016

Chickpeas for Dinner? Say what?? #recipe @lucyburdette




LUCY BURDETTE: Did you know that sautéed or roasted chickpeas are back in vogue? I figured this out when I saw a recipe in Bon Appétit and another on a site I've been cruising called Blue zones, which is about the places in the world where people live the longest and happiest. Of course researchers are very interested in what they eat (and don't eat.)

John was surprised to see this as his supper, but after he got over the shock, we quite enjoyed it as a light meal on the way out to the movies. And another bonus: you can feel very good about what you've eaten! (Maybe even slip in a little bowl of ice cream later...)


Ingredients


One 15 ounce can of low-sodium chickpeas
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pat of butter if you like
Two crushed cloves fresh garlic
Several dashes spices--this can be cumin or cayenne or chili pepper or turmeric; I used Penzey's Arizona Dreaming
Quarter cup chopped herbs of your choice (we used basil and dill)
Several generous handfuls fresh kale
Two eggs

Rinse the chickpeas well. Sauté them in olive oil and butter with the crushed garlic and spices, 10 to 15 minutes until they begin to brown. Don't go too long or they'll get dry. Mix in the fresh herbs and set aside.
 






Sauté the kale quickly until it just wilts. In another pan, cook the eggs to your liking, ours were over medium.
 





Assemble the dinner: mix chickpeas and kale on the plate and arrange the fried egg to the side of the greens. That's it! Dinner is served and then off to the movies...

KILLER TAKEOUT is coming in April, but available for pre-order today!


And you can follow Lucy on Facebook,
Twitter,
Pinterest,
and Instagram!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE release week + book #giveaway from author @AveryAames


It's out! It's here!  The 7th Cheese Shop Mystery: 
FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE


It's release week for Sheila and me!  
I hope you've ordered, pre-ordered, or hope to get to a bookstore this week! 
Good reading for all.  Congrats, Sheila!


To celebrate, I have a give away below! 

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE is the 7th in the series. What's it about?


The whey to a woman’s heart is murder...

It’s time for the annual Cheese Festival in Providence, Ohio, and Charlotte Bessette’s Fromagerie is ripe with homemade specialties. Meanwhile, her friend Erin is prepping her dairy farm and inn for cheese makers, marketers, journalists, and one surprise guest from the past—Lara Berry, pretentious cheese whiz, pompous bestselling author, and pungent critic whose extra sharp tongue can crumble a reputation. 
Since any love for Lara curdled long ago, Charlotte isn’t surprised when the foodie is smothered to death in her room at Erin’s inn. Accusations start flying, but the one sticking to Erin strikes Charlotte as a crock. Now, to clear her friend’s name, Charlotte has to sift through Lara’s ex-lovers, former business partners, and unforgiving enemies to find a killer before Lara’s past casts a gamey pall on the festival’s future.
***
And, now, here's a delicious recipe that I created for For Cheddar Or Worse. You know there are recipes in all the books, right? And did you know that there has been a quiche recipe in every book since The Long Quiche Goodbye?
When I am in recipe-making mode for a book, which means I wrack my brain trying to figure out new and fun recipes to include, I try to imagine tasty items, but sometimes I have to force the issue. Now Charlotte, of course, is always thinking quiche since she offers those in the shop on a daily basis. So I, channeling Charlotte, decided upon quiche, too. I love when Charlotte and I are in synch. 
I love the texture of quiche. I love the combo of flavors. 
For this experiment...I had a ton of carrots in the refrigerator, just sitting there staring at me one day, and I knew that I needed to do someone with them. I'd recently made a carrot cake. I didn't need another.
Carrot quiche, I thought. Hmm. What would pair well with carrots? This time I scoured my cupboards and found pine nuts and thought, yes! Nice texture with toasty flavor. Perfect!


 Pine Nut Carrot Quiche

(serves 6)


1 frozen 9-inch ready-made pie shell (regular or gluten-free)
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. dried sage or 1 Tbs. fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup milk
2 large eggs



Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Remove pie shell from the freezer and thaw for ten minutes. Prick the bottom with a fork and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove crust from the oven to cool.
 [Of course you can make your own pie shell if you wish...this was just the easy way!]

Chop the carrots. I used my Cuisinart to shred really small. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium-high. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic powder (or garlic cloves, chopped), carrots, salt, white pepper, and sage. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Stir in pine nuts.


In a small bowl, mix Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. In another bowl, whisk milk and eggs together.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture on the cooled piecrust.  Top with half of the carrot-pine nut mixture. 
Add 1/2 cup cheese mixture and then remaining carrot mixture. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese mixture.








Don’t worry – I didn’t forget the milk mixture. First, place the pie pan on a sheet pan. 


Carefully pour in the milk mixture.  Bake for 40 minutes. Check. If necessary, cook another 5-10 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting.




***

Now I have to knuckle down for recipes to include in my next Cookbook Nook Mystery, GRILLING THE SUBJECT.  Barbecue is the theme. I think I'm going to have fun! Don't you love the festive cover? 


By the way, do you get my newsletter? Are you part of the fan club? There are fun puzzles, special pictures, tidbits, and giveaways. One of my fans won this prize just a few days ago. Five more won books and mugs! 

Sign up today so you don't miss out in the future. I won't inundate you with mail. Just announcements about when special things are happening, like the release of FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, release parties, giveaways, and more!  Good luck.



TODAY'S GIVEAWAY!

Leave your name and email so I can contact you if you WIN, and tell me if you like to attend festivals and such!  I'll be giving away a SAVOR THE MYSTERY MUG. Winner will be picked Friday, the 5th.








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 our website with lots of trailers, excerpts, plus a fan club with puzzles and giveaways!


FUDGING THE BOOKS, the 4th Cookbook Nook Mystery, is HERE!  Click to order.




New in February
FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE
Click to order.



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Seattle Mystery Bookshop -- a beloved indie and a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen #giveaway!


Leslie here, changing the subject from food to bookstores for the day—but we all love them, in real life and on the page. A favorite of mine is Seattle Mystery Bookshop, on Cherry St. where the business district meets Pioneer Square. I shopped there often as a young lawyer in Seattle, and even put it in my Seattle Spice Shop mysteries—one of Pepper’s former law firm staffers works in the shop, and feeds Pepper clues and book suggestions.

So signing at SMB, as I’ve done several times, is a super-dooper double chocolate treat with a cherry on top.

Several of us in the Kitchen Crew write about women who run small shops, and we know the joys and challenges. Fran Fuller and Amber Ingraham from Seattle Mystery Bookshop joins us today with a view from inside the magical, mystical world of a mystery bookshop.

The shop was founded due to an off-handed comment by Aaron Elkins, who told Bill Farley "that Seattle sure needs to have it's own mystery bookshop." Bill Farley went home and told his wife they were moving to Seattle from Philadelphia and opening a bookshop. That was twenty-five years ago and the shop is still going, but not as strong as it once was. With the rise of algorythyms and free shipping, people started shopping differently. Add this to the economic down turn, where many people found themselves in a position where they needed to save all the pennies they could, we saw ourselves slipping away. We to had to start saving pennies by moving back to a smaller space, laying off part of our staff, ordering less of authors' backlists and being far more selective when purchasing new authors - but even this was not enough.

So we decided to turn to a Go Fund Me campaign, to find some relief. Our campaign is aimed to pay our rent for an entire year, build our catalog up again, and pay down our creditors. All of which will help us remain viable - since many reliable sources tell us small indie bookshops are falling back into favor as people are discovering algorythyms don't necessarily pick the best books out for them. There's nothing like the intuitive leap of a hand-seller with a passion!

As a former teenage bookseller, I can attest to that intuitive leap---and that passion!

What is the best part of working in a mystery bookshop?

The books, of course! I have been introduced to authors I don't think I ever would have found if I didn't work here; Cleo Coyle, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Hazel Holt, June Wright, and Dorothy Gilman. All authors I love and I am not sure I would have read if I didn’t work here. What is even better after reading them is placing the book in someone's hand and tell them how much they are going to love it - and they come back and tell you they did! Best feeling in the world! That's the best part of working at the bookshop for me. - Amber

I have to agree with what Amber said, but I also have to add - being able to meet authors I've admired over the years! It's nice to get face-time with someone whose writing you've admired, to be able to tell them, "You touched my life here and this is how." Well, and getting to see books before they're released to the general public, I gotta admit that's a huge perk!  - Fran

Here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, we’re all about cooking up crime. Are culinary mysteries popular in your shop? What do customers say about why they love culinary mysteries?

 Of course culinary mysteries are popular! That's why they have their own dedicated section, and in a shop as small as ours, any specialty area is prime real estate! People love food, and mystery lovers are foodies in a big way. And the recipes don't hurt, certainly. We've overheard spirited conversations about culinary delights, substitutions for sensitivities and allergies, and creative methods of doing people off - all in a fictional manner, we assume! Mystery themed cookbooks are quite popular too, which is quite a great thing. Good food, good beverages, and a mystery - what's not to like?

One of our authors, Victoria Abbott, writes the Book Collector series, and I’ve heard JB Dickey, SMB’s owner, say that biblio-mysteries are quite popular. Any theories why readers love books set in the world of books?


Books are a thing of mystery, really at their core. They are able to take the long road through time and allow us a glimpse into Elizabethan times on one shelf and the swinging sixties on another. They allow us to understand that we are not alone in the world, someone else has had the same problem and made it through to the other side, albeit not always unchanged or unscathed but they made it none the less. Because of this core it makes bookshops/libraries themselves seem a little bit mysterious - so when you have a body popping up on the premises, well it seems rather plausible, doesn't it? And who better to solve a mystery than someone who's a reader?


SMB also sells used and collectible books. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve found in a book?

Unfortunately I haven't found anything really exciting; a playing card, bus transfers, receipts… I always thought this would be a good way to start a mystery - like the character in Dorothy Gilman's Tightrope Walker - only she found a note in a hurdy-gurdy. But alas my book scouting hasn't turned up anything really fun! -Amber

Here at SMB, I've only run across small strange things - an ace of diamonds playing card, say, or a bookmark from Seattle Mystery's first days. But I have to admit that at another store, a young lady in her 20's and her mother brought in books to be assessed for credit, and tucked in the books were naughty pictures of the young lady. I tried to give them back to her without her mother noticing; alas, that failed and all three of us, mother, daughter and I, were supremely uncomfortable. I can laugh about it now, though.  - Fran

As authors and readers of cozy mysteries, we encounter the occasional snob who says he—and it is usually a he—prefers his crime fiction “darker and more realistic,” as if Jack Reacher weren’t every bit the fantasy figure Jessica Fletcher is. There’s some pretty tasty writing in cozy world, especially in character development. How can we persuade more skeptical readers to turn to the light?

Honestly, it's probably the covers. It's a stereotype, we know, but a lot of people don't want to be seen reading "fluff," which is, of course, nonsense since traditional mysteries have a great deal of sophistication and many have a fair amount of grit. But with gently "punny" titles and covers that are considered either pretty or cute, a lot of people - both men and women - avoid them. It's a standard saying not to judge a book by its cover, but of course, people do. What I do is hand them the book face down with the summary showing and tell them they cannot look at the cover - and then tell them to trust me. Then I give them my spiel on the book- what I love about it, what the author did a good job with and why they would like it. They don't go for it every time but I have converted a few of these people and their preconceived notions into, well not necessarily cozy lovers, but cozy likers at least!

You see why I love them? That is simply brilliant!

SMB hosts a lot of signings—and they are so much fun! What advice do you have for authors to make a signing fabulous? (Besides bringing cookies for the staff.) (Me with my first mystery, in my very first bookstore signing!)

Oh, we love goodies brought by culinary authors! In fact, one year, Diane Mott Davidson sent up a batch of chocolate chip cookies to us since she couldn't be here. Sadly, the trip was rough on them and they melted into this gigantic lump. It was unappealing to look at, but hey, they're cookies by Diane Mott Davidson! We took a chance on the lump, and they were as great as we thought they'd be. Nowadays, of course, we're cautious about nuts, Amber being wildly allergic, but all goodies are gratefully received!

That being said, the best thing authors can do is network and promote signings. Family and friends are as valid a power base as any, and a mistake new authors make is giving away their books to said friends and family. If they love you, they'll buy the book in support of you. So getting out the word that you're signing someplace and encouraging folks who like you - or like authors who write in a similar style - to reserve books in advance, to show up, to talk you up? These are all helpful.


And don't be discouraged if your signings are small. An indie bookseller who's on your side will slip your book into the hands of the unsuspecting at the best possible times!

Independent booksellers are critical to the reading and writing health of our society. 
As our contribution to the Seattle Mystery Bookshop's Go Fund Me Campaign, we've put together a basket of our books and other fun prizes, that SMB will offer as a reward in their GoFundMe campaign


PS: Happy Release Day to our Daryl Wood Gerber -- FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, Cheese Shop Mystery # 7, and our Sheila Connolly -- A TURN FOR THE BAD are both out today! And I know where you can find copies -- or order them!


J.B., Fran, and Amber at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop love meeting readers, in person, by phone, and online. There are few mystery questions they can't answer! And they are delighted to ship books anywhere you’d like a book to go!


Seattle Mystery Bookshop
117 Cherry St.
Seattle, WA  98104
206-587-5737
staff@seattlemystery.com 
www.seattlemystery.com
25 Years of Mayhem: 1990 - 2015

To contribute to the Seattle Mystery Bookshop's Go Fund Me Campaign, click here.