Monday, October 26, 2009

Trick or Treat!

This week we're celebrating HALLOWEEN in our recipes. Isn't that fun? Six different ways to TRICK OR TREAT! I'm curious to see what the others come up with, aren't you?

I think I've told you before that my character, Charlotte Bessette, likes to experiment with food. Well, I do, too, and I inspired to do so this week because I took a tour of Ohio and fell in love all over again with FALL. The colors and the rolling hills, the fields upon fields of corn, and the wonderful flavors of foods that I tasted. I stayed at the best little bed and breakfast called Acorns at the White Oak Inn, in Danfield, Ohio, out in the "middle of nowhere" (as they advertise), and I was treated like family. The innkeeper, Yvonne, is a terrific chef and spoiled me rotten. I then went on a tour of the Amish country with a fabulous guide named LaVonne who runs Amish Tours of Ohio, who works out of Berlin, Ohio. What an insight to a very different culture.

In honor of Halloween and Fall, I decided to use pumpkin seeds as an ingredient in a fall salad. Actually, this salad uses all the elements of the season. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did

(for two)

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Baste a 9” square baking pan with the oil.
Sprinkle in the seeds so they’re flat on the bottom.
Sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, stir so they get coated with oil on all sides. Flatten them on the bottom and bake 10 minutes more until they’re a golden brown.

Remove and reserve.


2 cups raw spinach
4 sticks baby corn
6 slices cucumber
1/4 zucchini, chopped thin
2 Tbs. craisins
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. pumpkin seeds
1 oz. cheddar, cubed or shredded

Pile spinach on a plate, adorn with cucumber, corn, and craisins.

Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in sauté pan. Drop in zucchini, sauté quickly until light brown. Divide over two salads.

Drizzle with dressing (recipe to follow)
Top with pumpkin seeds and cheddar.
This is melt in your mouth good, if I do say so myself!


2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp. ground pepper

Stir together and shake well. Divide between 2 salads.


Note: I used Australian Cheddar. It's got a nice tang to it. Sharp without a bite. The pumpkin seeds really give this salad a crunchy and nutty zing!

If you want to check out other recipes or learn more about the upcoming Cheese Shop Mysteries, check out my website: There's lots to read.

And LAST BUT NOT LEAST, we have another contest!!

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. My kids LOVE pumpkin seeds and I've heard they're really good for you, too. Thanks for sharing this! Happy Halloween, Avery!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. I bought raw pumpkin seeds last week and am itching to try them. The salad sounds delish!


  3. Hi Avery - I don't know what it is about pumpkin seeds that I love so much--the salt? The crunch? The fun of scooping them out of the pumpkin? Okay, maybe the squishy, messy scooping isn't the best part of enjoying pumpkin seeds, but these days even that act brings back a lot of great Halloween memories. Thanks for the reminder: Time to buy our big jack-o'-lantern makin' pumpkin!

    Free coffee drawing today at 7 PM (Eastern)!
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Wow you really have me thinking about Halloween treats now ;-) We haven't carved pumpkins yet, but I love how you use your seeds. Never thought to put them in a salad!


  5. A tour of Amish country sounds like a wonderful way to spend a weekend. We have Amish communities here in Michigan, but no tour guides that I know of.

    This sounds like a nice, hearty salad for the cooler weather.