Sunday, August 30, 2009

Guest Blogger: Author Annette Blair - Gluten Free Turkey Chili

Please welcome our guest blogger: nationally bestselling author Annette Blair! Annette's new mystery, LARCENY AND LACE, premiered at #6 on Barnes & Noble’s mass market mystery list (#50 on the list that included all genres), and #15 on Bookscan’s Mystery list! Congrats to Annette on her fantastic showing out of the gate for this second title in her new Vintage Magic Mystery series. ~Cleo Coyle

And now, here's Annette...

Anyone who knows me is probably laughing because I’m daring to post here at Mystery Lovers Kitchen. When we were building our place, a co-worker asked if I was having a sunroom put in where the kitchen should be. Another said, “Why don’t you get one of those cardboard stove samples for that spot and save some money?”

Okay, so the nearby deli named a sandwich after us. Now don’t get me wrong, I was a domestic diva once. I kept a garden. I pickled things! I made tomato sauce from home grown tomatoes, cooked for umpteen guests on holidays. I baked and decorated wedding cakes and made my children’s clothes. I was a bodacious super mom.

But one day, they went to college and I became a prep school Development Director. I raised millions of dollars, traveled the country, and worked sixty hour weeks. No time to cook. When I wasn’t raising money, I was writing. No wonder local restaurants gave us Christmas presents.

I became a full time writer six years ago, but the domestic goddess never returned. My sister cleans my house. My son does the real cooking while I stay in my “cave” writing a buffet of stories. Besides single title paranormal romantic comedies for Berkley Sensations, I now write cozy Vintage Magic Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. I have to admit that when I was offered this series, my agent wondered if I had the knowledge of sewing and vintage fashions necessary to pull it off, but I surprised her with my secret past.

Madeira Cutler, my heroine, is a fashionista, a New York dress designer who, in A VEILED DECEPTION, came home to Mystic, Connecticut to plan her sister’s wedding. Then the jezebel trying to steal the groom was murdered. To save her sister, the prime suspect, Madeira turned sleuth and never looked back.

She stayed in Mystic and owns a vintage dress shop, now, in an old morgue cum funeral chapel carriage house, a copy of one that exists—my husband and I rented it for years. Like Maddie, we found caskets and such, though we never found a ghost like Dante Underhill, a former undertaker, who can’t seem to leave Mad’s building.

From her late mother, a psychic witch, our sleuth inherited at least one mystic gift, maybe more. Madeira can read vintage clothes. She sees snippets of things that happened when people were wearing the clothes, events that can help her solve crimes, or turn her in wrong directions. Maddie also has a problem: Detective Lytton Werner. In third grade, he mocked her fashion sense, so she called him Little Wiener, shouted it, actually, in a full cafeteria. The name stuck. This is the man she has to contend with, cajole, scam, and psych out . . . whatever it takes a tricky, trendy sleuth, who knows more than she should, to get her point across and the perps in jail.

In LARCENY AND LACE, Werner “detains” Madeira at the police station, until her alibi is confirmed. She talks him into letting her spend her incarceration in his office eating Mexican take out (hey, they say we should write what we know), while she throws a lot of "what ifs" at him regarding the case. It’s one of several turning points in their relationship.

In honor of Maddie and the Wiener’s Mexican truce, aided by two six packs of Dos Equis, I’m sharing a wonderful recipe for gluten free Chili that my son developed. Frankly, it’s the best Chili I’ve ever tasted.

Gluten Free Turkey Chili
Makes approximately 15 servings

2 lbs of ground turkey
1 ginormous chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, diced
½ cup chili powder
1 ¼ tablespoon ground cumin
3 16 oz cans of stewed tomatoes
1 ¼ cup catsup
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup of molasses
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ tablespoon dry mustard
2 26 oz cans kidney beans
2 26 oz cans pinto beans

1. In a large kettle or Dutch oven, cook the ground turkey over medium heat with the onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin.

2. When the meat is cooked and the onion is transparent, stir in the stewed tomatoes, molasses, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and mustard. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for half an hour, stirring occasionally.

3. Drain off half the liquid from the canned beans before adding them to the sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Simmer longer according to taste and consistency.

4. Serve in soup bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Goes well with a bowl of gluten free nachos, with or without your choice of dips. Enjoy.

If you'd like to learn more about Annette Blair and the many wonderful books she's written, visit her Web site by clicking here.

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  1. I enjoy the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen daily post, but every Sunday morning I look forward to seeing who the guest blogger is. It's a treat to be exposed to the various writers and the great recipes and stories. Thanks for all you do.

  2. Welcome, Annette!

    I love putting turkey in recipes instead of beef--so much healthier(not to mention less expensive.) Thanks for sharing this recipe!


  3. Hi Annette: Just wanted to thank you again for guest blogging. Also sending a huge thank you to your son! This Turkey Chili recipe looks like a real winner - easy to make and really nice layers of flavor. It's definitely going on the stove at our house this week!

    ~Cleo Coyle
    author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries
    "Where coffee and crime are always brewing..." (And this week turkey chili will be a'cookin'!)

  4. Thanks for guest blogging, Annette! The chili sounds great. I'm looking forward to cool weather and this sounds like a perfect dinner for fall nights.

  5. Annette, lovely of you to join us. Love the recipe for the chili. I'm gluten-free, so this will be a real treat to cook for dinner!! I look forward to reading your books!

  6. Just be aware that the more processed turkey meat is, the more likely it is to have wheat in it. This is especially true for things like boneless, rolled turkey breasts, especially if marked "flavored" or "in their own basting sauce." Some companies use wheat as a filler in the fluid that is injected into the meat for flavoring or basting. Whole birds or pieces cut from whole birds are safest.

  7. Thank you, Annette, for guest blogging. I love your the stories you shared with us. That former funeral home/morgue building sounds intriguing, as does your series! Can't wait to pick up the first one!

    Sharon - I wasn't aware of the wheat addition in processed turkey. We don't have any wheat issues here, but that's a great bit of information.

  8. A big thanks to Cleo Coyle and everyone here at Mystery Lovers Kitchen for inviting me. I'm so happy to be here.

  9. Glad you like the chili recipe, Cleo. We talked about it so much this week that my son made it yesterday and we had it for dinner last night. It really is a delicious and hearty meal.

  10. Krista, Glad to be here. Since we were suffering the side effects of a hurricane yesterday, the temperature had dropped to chilly (pun intended) and we'd put on sweaters, so the chili did make the perfect dinner.

  11. The molasses sounds like a wonderful addition. It is supposed to be quite cool this week, so I think I'll add this to my meals for the week.

  12. Hi Avery, Hubby is gluten free, here, and to make life easy for him, we all are. Personally, the only hardship for me has been giving up real pasta--not that we haven't found a decent substitute: Tinkyada brand, I think it is--but when I'm eating out with friends, I'm the one most likely to order pasta. LOL.

  13. Sharon, I had no idea that turkey meat could have gluten in it and will pass that on to husband and son. Thank you so much for the helpful tip.

  14. Thank you Julie, I love being here. Yes, we used that building for my husband's electrical business for 20 years. It used to be the Kent County Morgue then the Read Funeral Chapel Carriage House. The horse stalls were still there, with a small square window above for each horse, coffins upstairs and a giant trough about six feet long and four feet wide that you'd put ice in and skirt to set the casket on in people's living rooms during wakes. It was and still is quite the place. When we visited the Henry Ford museum with our kids, we saw a horse drawn hearse, and didn't the placard identify it as coming from the Read Funeral Chapel Carrige house in Coventry Rhode Island--OUR building!

  15. The molasses gives it a wonderfully sweet kick, not overwhelming, but just right. It is so cook with a sharp cheddar shredded on top. And because my husband was a breadaholic, which included crutons in everything, he likes to crumble gluten free nachos on top.

    I should have added that if you need to stay low salt, like I do, you can get both the stewed tomatoes and beans either low salt or even salt free. We also use salt free, gluten free nachos.

  16. Janel, the above response was for you. Thanks for commenting.

  17. What a great recipe... I will be saving the link and making it sometime soon...

    And I can't wait to get your books... I just reserved them at the library. I love everyone else's books that blogs here so I simply adore finding more to read!


  18. Julie, thanks so much for looking into my books. I just had a big bowlful of this chili and all I can say is: Wow. I think you'll enjoy it.

  19. Patricia BarracloughAugust 30, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    My boss's daughter needs a gluten free diet. Will be passing this recipe along to her. Sounds good. Never thought of adding molasses or brown sugar to my chili. Will have to try it. Will also be trying Annette's books.

  20. Patricia, I'm glad it'll help someone on a gluten free diet, and that you'll try it, too. Enjoy both the chili and the books. Hugs.

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