Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our Guest Author - Lorraine Bartlett

Welcome, LORRAINE!

Lorraine is a New York Times bestselling author.

She writes the Victoria Square Mysteries, featuring Katie Bonner, manager of Artisan's Alley. The first book, A MATTER OF MURDER, will debut in 2010.

As Lorna Barrett, she writes the Booktown cozy mystery series featuring Tricia Miles and her mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue--which includes her cat, Miss Marple. This series includes her bestseller, Murder is Binding. New out is Bookplate Special.

As L.L. Barrett, she writes the Jeff Resnick psychological suspense series.

To make Lorraine comfy in our cozy little format, I asked her the following questions. Her new Booktown novel, Bookplate Special, includes a restaurant. I had to assume she'd have a recipeto share, right?

What does your protagonist like to eat?
Tricia is very weight conscious. She allows herself to salads and tuna plates, a bagel for breakfast and lots of coffee. However, her sister, Angelica, eats and loves EVERYTHING and is always trying to get Tricia to broaden her food choices. Eventually, Tricia is going to do some serious thinking about her eating habits (book #4 in the Booktown Mystery series, Chapter & Hearse, which will be released on August 3, 2010.)

Is the food served at the restaurant in your book or does she cook it herself?
Most of the food is prepared by Tricia’s sister, Angelica, who opens a small café in Bookplate Special, The café is called Booked for Lunch. They only serve lunch—which is pretty much soup and sandwiches. Angelica loves to bake, too. The recipes included in most of the Booktown Mysteries are Angelica’s.

What/who is her favorite Food Network show/cookbook/celebrity chef?
Angelica would like to be the next Paula Deen, and probably wishes she was as young and skinny as Giada Delaurentus. (Although she secretly thinks Giadia has to be bulimic to be a cook and stay that impossibly thin.). Angelica’s appalled that Sandra Lee starts most of her recipes with box mixes. She thinks everything should be made from scratch.

What’s her favorite cheese?
I really couldn’t say. I’m not much of a cheese hound myself (I cook and/or eat mozzarella, parmesan, Swiss, and cheddar and that’s about it), but I’m sure Angelica would be quite knowledgeable if I did a bit more research.

Would you care to share a recipe with us?
I’d be delighted. I made these mini spinach quiches for Bookplate Special and had to make the recipe several times before I was happy with the amount of cheese. (I wanted more, More, MORE!) My husband was very happy with all those test batches and has encouraged me to make more of them.

Mini Spinach Quiches

½ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 slices bacon
¼ cup chopped green onion
2 eggs
½ cup half-and-half cream
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and well drained (use your hands to squeeze out the water)

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add flour; beat until well blended. Shape into 24 balls. Press balls into the bottom and the sides of greased mini muffin cups.

Preheat oven to 350º degrees. In a skillet, cook the bacon until brown and very crisp; drain. Sautee the onions in the same skillet with the bacon drippings, cook for 5 minutes, or until tender, stirring constantly; drain. Place the onions in a medium bowl. Crumble the bacon into small pieces, and add in with the cooked green onion. Add the eggs to the bacon and onions; beat well. Stir in the cream, salt, nutmeg and the Parmesan cheese. Add in the squeezed spinach; mix well to combine. Divide the mixture into crust-lined cups (do not overfill).

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes 24

Thank you, Lorraine, for offering such fun insights into your writing and a delicious recipe, to boot!


Win a $25 Gift Card to Williams-Sonoma gourmet food and kitchenware store! In early November, we're going to have an Iron Chef Week. Each of our mystery writing cooks will post a recipe with the same secret ingredient. To enter our drawing for the gift card, all you have to do is send an e-mail, suggesting a future Secret Ingredient to:

You must be a follower of our blog for your entries to count. Just click on one of the "follow" buttons in the right column and you're all set. One entry allowed per day per person. The winner will be announced right here on November 9th! (Again, if you're not following our blog, another winner will be be sure to follow!)


  1. Good morning, Lorraine. Thanks for sharing your delicious recipe and your sweet self! Good luck with all your series!!!

  2. Great to see you here, Lorraine. Your Spinach Quiches sound fabulous. I'm definitely going to try them!


  3. It was a terrible chore for my husband to keep eating the recipe as I tested it three times. Just terrible. Still, he keeps asking me to make them again. How he likes to suffer. :)

  4. Hi Lorraine - Can't wait for the new Booktown mystery! Looking forward to reading about Tricia's new case and seeing what recipes you have in store for us. Love today's mini quiche recipe, mainly because I'm into mini everything these days--everything but skirts. Given my own recipe testing mini-skirts are most definitely out, lol! Thanks for hanging with us mystery writing cooks today. It's a real honor to have you here, and I hope you'll join us again!

    Your fan,

  5. Hi Lorraine! Great to *see* you here.
    I love all your books and can't wait to get my hands on the first one in the new series. Thanks for sharing your spinach quiche recipe with us (I love spinach quiche - can't wait to try this!) and for joining us here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen.


  6. I love the Booktown series and I'm very happy to see that Angelica's cafe is featured in the new book.

    Cheese and spinach are a perfect combination. Of course, you can never have too much cheese!

  7. Hi, Janel, thanks for stopping by. It was a blast writing about Angelica's cafe. It was a lot of fun working a shift at a friend's cafe to get the feel for that kind of work, even if all I did was bus tables and rinse dishes.

  8. Lorraine,

    Thanks so much for popping in with mini-quiches, no less! I love spinach and am always looking
    for new ways to include it in the family menu. I know this will be a hit. BTW, I love the Booktown Mysteries and have gotten several librarian friends hooked on them.

  9. Hi Lorraine! These little spinach quiches look SO good. I'm a huge spinach fan.

    Cute name for a cafe--"Booked for Lunch!"

    Booktown is such a wonderful series. Thanks for stopping in to visit with us!

    Mystery Writing is Murder