Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Easy Shrimp & Artichoke Stir Fry #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:

As I press on through the summer writing, writing, and writing--I'm working on Cookbook Nook #6 right now; so much fun!! plus I'm doing all the PR prep for A Deadly Éclair...November is fast approaching--I don't like to think about making huge dinners or even dinners with lots of steps.

And when it's hot, I don't like to cook at length and heat up the house. I want something that takes minutes to prepare and minutes to serve.

This recipe is it!

One of the easiest of all items to buy at the store is:  salad bar. On a busy day, I head to my favorite grocery store and pick up a salad with all my favorite goodies.

Then I throw a piece of fish or a chop on the barbecue, and dinner is ready!

I also like raiding the salad bar for the veggies that I use in a quickie stir fry. Why buy the whole pack of green onions? Why buy a whole jar of Kalamata olives? Why buy a full carton of baby tomatoes? I do keep artichoke hearts on hand because I love them.

This easy dish, which takes 3 minutes to prepare, 3 minutes to cook the first portion, and 3 more minutes to cook the second half...a total of 9 minutes from refrigerator to table, should satisfy the savory eaters in your group!

EASY Shrimp and Artichokes

Serves 1  (obviously multiply to make larger portions)

8-10 cooked medium-sized shrimp
4 marinated artichoke heart quarters (including oil)

Plus, a quick raid on the salad bar:

3-4 miniature plum tomatoes, sliced in half
6-8 Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons peas
1 tablespoon green onions
Season with salt and pepper, as desired. 
(My artichoke hearts had plenty of seasoning in them.)

In a medium sauté pan, heat the shrimp and artichoke hearts (using 1-2 tablespoons of the marinated artichoke hearts' oil) over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. 

Add the tomatoes, olives, and whatever else you have chosen from the salad bar. Cook for 3 more minutes.

Serve hot.

I served with a crisp pinot grigio.

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!
The Wild West Extravaganza has come to Crystal Cove.
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FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery is out!
Finally there's going to be a cheese festival in Providence!
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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? 
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my new stand-alone suspense
A mother he thought was dead. A father he never knew. 
An enemy that wants them dead.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chicken Julia - #recipe @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: A few years ago, Mr. Right and I spent a month in my France for my mumbledy-mumbledy birthday. For me, it was a dream come true. For him, it started out as something he agreed to because it was my dream—and ended up as possibly his favorite trip ever, for a man who’s traveled much of the world.

It was the people (seriously!), the art, the history, the landscape, and the food. The food, the food, the food. When we returned home, we set about transforming ourselves from decent home cooks to good ones. That Christmas, he bought me an armful of Julia Child cookbooks and videos, while I bought him a raft of kitchen accessories.

One of our go-to recipes we simply call “Chicken Julia,” based on a recipe in Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking. The sauce is incredibly simple, and so rich and flavorful--the perfect illustration of the importance of a simple technique like deglazing the pan and using the juices as the base for the sauce.

I'm honestly not sure I'd ever used fresh tarragon before we first made this recipe; now, I keep a pot growing on the back porch during good weather and do my best to nurture it inside through the Montana winter. In fact, I've kept the current pot going over two seasons--last fall, it had gotten quite leggy so I cut it back and dried the leaves, then forgot it in the laundry room. A couple of weeks later, I discovered that it had sent up new green shoots. Looks like it will keep going this year, too, making my 99 cent annual quite the bargain. (That's it in the terra cotta pot.)

Even if you can't grow your own tarragon, do try to find some fresh stuff at least once when you make this recipe. I can pretty much guarantee it will become a staple in your house, too!

Chicken Julia

2 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup dry white wine or French vermouth
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

Place the chicken breasts in plastic wrap and flatten with a mallet or the flat of a large chef’s knife to about ½ inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large saute pan, add the oil, and heat. Saute the chicken breasts, about one minute a side, until thy are springy to the touch; be sure they are done but not overcooked—Julia says the juices should run clear or yellow with no pink. Remove the chicken; the sauce won’t take long to cook, but keeping them in a warm oven is a nice touch.

Deglaze the pan with the wine or vermouth. Add the shallots, stock, and vermouth, and cook two to three minutes, stirring, to make a sauce. Plate the chicken and divide the sauce, pouring it over the chicken.

Serves two. Bon appetit!  

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

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

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer Garden Lentil Salad

If you're like me, the word lentils makes you think of soup and Indian food. It wasn't until I was told I should include some lentils in my dogs' diet that I actually bought some and started cooking with them.

There are three kinds of lentils. Red lentils are the softest and cook the fastest. Green lentils are the most common and probably the ones you've seen in soup. And then there's my favorite. The lentil that changed my mind about them—French lentils.

Unlike beans, dried lentils do not need to be soaked overnight. You add water or broth and cook. It's easy to put on a pot when you're cooking something else.

My picky-eater friend loathes beans. She doesn't like the texture or the flavor. If you're like that, you might want to skip the French lentils. But if you're open to a very healthy high-fiber food, then you might like lentils.

I've been making lentil salads for a few years now and had no idea that they're considered a national dish in France. I'm sure they're even tastier when eaten outdoors while gazing at fields of sunflowers or lavender.

Now that it's August, our garden is producing a lot of veggies. I believe celery is typical in a French lentil salad, but I used baby cucumbers for crunch because they're so delicious. We had a volunteer grape tomato plant this year and it's full of lovely tomatoes, which I used in the salad.

This is really very simple and the wonderful thing is that you can tweak it to suit your taste. Sometimes I add corn, which makes it very pretty and a little sweeter. Garlic lovers should feel free to add it, too. If your kids balk at it (Seriously? The little round lentils are so cute!) add a tablespoon of honey to the dressing to sweeten it up.

So here's my basic recipe. Have fun with it!

Summer Garden Lentil Salad

1 1/2 cups cooked French lentils (cook according to package)
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced baby cucumber (or celery)
10-12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped parsley + leaves to garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine French herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the lentils, onion, cucumber, tomatoes and chopped parsley in a bowl. In a small cup, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, fine French herbs, and salt and pepper. Pour over the lentils and toss. Garnish with parsley leaves.

Today's haul from the garden.

Before dressing.

Very simple.

After dressing.

COLOR ME MURDER, the first book in my new Pen & Ink Mysteries.
You can color the cover!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Perfect summer party fare from guest author Barbara Fradkin #mystery #recipe #giveaway

Amanda Doucette’s perfect summer party fare by guest author Barbara Fradkin

Please welcome our good friend, award-winning author Barbara Fradkin, back to Mystery Lovers Kitchen.  We love her books and Barbara never fails to deliver a delicious recipe. Plus she's offering an enticing giveaway.  Make sure you leave a comment AND your email address.

This recipe is from Barbara's awesome new protagonist, Amanda Doucette.  Amanda is a woman on the go, full of enthusiasm and purpose. Although she loves to get together with friends over dinner and wine – sometimes even a good Scotch – she is less fond of recipes that require a pantry full of ingredients or half a day’s prep. Fast, fresh, healthy foods are her favourite. Never one to follow all the rules, she likes to make things up as she goes along. Instead of tuna in the classic salade Niçoise, she switched it to fresh poached salmon.  Here’s her recipe, as accurately as she can remember it after the wine and Scotch. It’s both versatile and forgiving, so every chef can put their own twist on it.  

By the way, Linda /Erika and MJ /Victoria both enjoyed this recipe at our annual writers' retreat!  



1 fillet of wild sockeye salmon, about a pound
1-2 green onions
2-3 garlic cloves
juice of one lemon, plus about 1 tbsp. of grated rind (more or less depending on how lemony you like it!)
¼ cup white wine
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste (or that secret ingredient, Mrs. Dash’s seasoned salt)
water as needed


      Chop garlic and green onions coarsely.  

2.      To prepare the salmon fillet, sprinkle the top lightly with salt, pepper, and the zest of half a lemon.  Spread the garlic and onions over it evenly.

3.      Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and fry the salmon briefly, dressed side up, to seal in the juices.
4.      Pour wine and lemon juice gently over it, cover with a tight lid, and poach gently until the pink flesh is just beginning to turn paler at the thickest part. Adjust heat and add water sparingly to avoid scorching.
5.      Towards the end, allow the liquid to evaporate so that the fish browns slightly.

6.      Remove the fish to a plate, spoon any remaining juices over it, and chill before slicing it into single portions. Place the fish in the centre of the prepared bed of lettuce, and encircle it with any salad ingredients you have on hand. Amanda uses seasonal fresh vegetables, in this case sliced tomatoes and peppers, baby new potatoes and green beans (cooked and chilled), and slivered hard boiled eggs. Drizzle with oil and vinegar or lemon garlic vinaigrette.

Voilà! The result is as pretty as it is delicious!

Meet our friend, Barbara Fradkin:

Barbara Fradkin is a retired child psychologist with a fascination for why we turn bad. Besides her short stories and easy-read short novels, she is best known for her gritty, psychological Inspector Green series, which has received two Arthur Ellis Best Novel Awards. However, she recently embarked on a new mystery suspense series featuring international aid worker Amanda Doucette, who battles her own traumatic past to help people in trouble.

The series debut, Fire in the Stars, was released in 2016, earning starred reviews, and the second, The Trickster’s Lullaby, will hit the shelves on September 2.  You can pre-order it now!  Barbara lives in Ottawa.  One lucky commenter will win a copy of Fire in the Stars!  Just leave a comment with your email address.  

Join Barbara on  FACEBOOK 
and check out her  WEBSITE

Don't forget your comments!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce #mystery #recipe

MJ's hubby and Victoria's dad had a big birthday party last year and we ordered some platters from our favorite local caterer.  Without a doubt, the Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce was the biggest hit ever. It got raves again on a book club evening.  So why not make it myself since I'm in the kitchen all the time?  I have been trying to duplicate the recipe ever since. Today's recipe is the result of much trial and error and looking through dozens of recipes here, there and everywhere. 

You may remember that I bought a GIANT bottle of Sriracha for a recipe recently.  I only needed a teaspoon. Needless to say, Sriracha will be finding its way into many recipes (including both of these)

for the next while.  The avocado is an interloper. Don't search for it in this recipe.  It lives in the bean salad.

These satays were made and tested during our annual writing retreat this summer and my gathering of library school friends just this week.  Everyone loves the peanut sauce.  Now I'll share the results with you.  

Oops!  The Sriracha sauce is missing.

For the chicken you will need:

1/2 cup coconut milk, shaken and stirred
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon sugar (I used Splenda)
1/ 2cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of one and a half limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips 

You can double or triple this recipe!  

You will also need: 

 12 to 16 wooden skewers, depending on how many chicken strips you have. Soaked them for a couple of hours if you can so they don't catch fire. You can also use metal skewers.

A large freezer bag with zip closing

For the peanut sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or gluten-free substitute if that's important to you)
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
      2 tsp  Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons sugar (I used Splenda)
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter- we used the one with no added salt or sugar
1 cup chicken broth  (or more)


Cut chicken into strips.

 Whisk coconut milk, fish sauce, curry, sugar, cilantro, salt and pepper. Put chicken in a large ziplock bag; pour in marinade. 

Mix well.  Chill as long as you can, but at least four hours, turning bag occasionally.

Make sauce: Combine soy sauce, cider vinegar, Sricracha, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, peanut butter and broth in a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Using a whisk, blend until smooth. You can thin it out with more broth if you'd like.  Cool and refrigerate if not serving immediately.  We like our sauce warm.   Reheat before serving. 

Preheat grill to medium. Remove chicken from marinade. You can discard the marinade. Thread each piece of chicken onto a skewer. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. The only tricky part is not overcooking!  Serve with sauce.

They're good the next day too!

We love your suggestions and comments. Come on by and tell us what you would add or subtract or substitute in this recipe (I know you anti- cilantro people!)

In case you don't know, Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between  me, Mary Jane Maffini, and my daughter Victoria. Together we write the book collector mysteries.   We think that reading them is like taking a lovely trip to a mysterious place where books are everything and, yes, murder happens and great meals are served and some relatives are not to be trusted. Of course, justice prevails in the end and books are loved.


The book collector mysteries are fun, easy to read and surprising too. All five titles are available in print, e-book and audio format. Don't miss out.  You can get to meet Peachy (posing below) aka Walter the Pug.  Watch out for the Siamese cats - one is good and one will get you!