Sunday, December 13, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger - Mary Alice of Mystery Lovers BOOKSHOP

Mystery Lovers Bookshop, of Oakmont, PA, is receiving the 2010 Raven Award bestowed by Mystery Writers of America at the Edgar Banquet in April. The Raven Award is given "in recognition of the constant support and dedication they have shown to the mystery community."

We here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen congratulate you!

Mary Alice’s Books of Christmas for Food Lovers

Each year at Holiday time, our mystery book store is bursting with more than mystery books. There are terrific children’s books, gift books, games and puzzles packing the shelves. For the mystery lovers who love food books too, here are a few of my suggestions.

***Click on the titles for links to covers/more description, etc.***

100 Words for Foodies
From the editor of American Heritage Dictionaries
While watching a recent episode of Chopped on the food channel, I saw a
young chef lose when he couldn't find the powdered sugar he sought and
another chef kept trying to tell him it was the confectioners' sugar. Well
that's not likely to come up in your life but browsing this little guide is
a boon for food lovers whether they cook or just eat out. Take one as a
hostess gift this season and you will be remembered fondly.

Tea & Crumpets
Recipes and Rituals from European Tearooms & Cafes
By Margaret M Johnson with photo assist from Leigh Beisch
Chronicle $19.95
Does the world really need another tea book? Just paging through this
gorgeous delight will tell you that we have never had one like this. A
traveler's guide to European tearooms and all the recipes for the signature
sweets and savories in these hot spots will entice you and before you know it
you'll be turning out the best Bakewell Tart and Glamorgan Sausages along
with scones and clotted cream.

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids
By Jill O'Connor with photos by Leigh Beisch
The title says it all for this mouth-watering treat for kids of all ages.
From Pinkalicious Princess Cupcakes to Cinnamon Toast Soldiers you will want
to feed your inner kid some cold Winter snow day.

The Trader Joe's Companion
A Portable Cookbook
By Deana Gunn & Wona Miniati
Brown Bag Publishers
Ever since Trader Joe's arrived on the food scene in Pittsburgh, we all find
time to pig out on the well priced store brands with the healthy rep. Now we
have a handy 5"x10" guide for all things TJ's in recipes that are simple,
fast and tasty. Everyday you will find the ingredients for Vegetable Tikka
Masala that will come together faster that delivered dinner. How about Asian
Dumpling Soup, Salmon in Puff Pastry and Lemon Tart for company in under one
hour. Keep one in your shopping bag for the next trip.

Why Italians Love to Talk About Food
A Journey through Italy's great regional cuisines, from Alps to Sicily by Elena Kostioukovitch
Forward by Umberto Eco and Carol Field
Here's a journey through a food culture about which most of us have a fleeting knowledge. Liguria to Lombardy or Sardinia to Sicily food landscapes are gloriously detailed. This is a well written book for reading about food----both festive and nourishing. I loved the truffle tales.

Kid's Kitchen
40 Fun and Healthy Recipes to Make and Share by Fiona Bird and illustrated by Roberta Arenson Barefoot Books
Color coded by food groups and delightfully illustrated this will get those little hands into the mix for meals or snacks. Fruity Faces, Paneer, Pasta Dough and root soup are all lushly illustrated and engaging recipes.

South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays
Arthur Agatston
Whether you entertain, follow or have a healthy curiosity about the South Beach Diet, you’ll want this classic cookbook on the shelf as well as on your gift list. The South Beach Diet Parties & Holidays Cookbook has such a plethora of colorful spreads to show that this is a full-fed diet with attention to lowering carbs and the whites—sugar, rice, pasta and wheat. Have a Diet Kick-off Party for a group to do the two week start-up where the entire buffet rings in at under a spaghetti and meatball dinner with Garlic Bread. Or fill in your Holiday entertaining with some of these gorgeous low-carb option like Lemon Thyme Ice, Pork and Poblano Chili, Chocolate, Almond and Orange Clusters or a Turkey Sausage and Pear Stuffing.

* * * * *
Before I close, I thought I would leave a little gift for you all. Each year, author Debbie Macomber sends recipe packs to her loyal readers. This year, booksellers and librarians submitted recipes to be included in the pack. 11 recipes were chosen to be included. More than 4000 packs of “A Holiday Recipe from Debbie Macomber” will be mailed to readers in the next few weeks. Mary Alice’s contribution to the 11 follows. Enjoy!!!

Here's a wonderful and all inclusive Holiday recipe. It is a composite of my German mother's wonderful Sauerbraten, Richard's mother's Jewish family favorite pot roast and my extra bits tossed into the mix---I'm German, Irish and French married to a Russian Jew with a daughter who is German-Irish-French-Italian-Polish. We think this is especially appropriate for our December 13th Holiday party when we will light the Hanukkah candles, and enjoy this annual dinner with a groaning cookie table of all of our friends' traditional nuts and sweets. I'm thinking of adding some sweet potato fritters this year in honor of my daughter's new husband who is African American.

Happy Holidays!
Mary Alice Gorman

Three Moms' Pot Roast

Generous and necessary serving size: 8

4 pounds beef brisket, flat half, first cut
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic -- finely crushed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 onions -- sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon schmaltz, rendered chicken fat
2 ribs celery, outside ribs -- sliced
3 carrots -- sliced
3 cloves garlic -- smashed
4 bay leaves, whole
11 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
6 ginger snap cookie crumbs

Rub both sides of the brisket with mix of ingredients 2 through 14 and let rest for about 30 minutes

In a saute pan brown onions in oil until just beginning to turn color. Salt and stir

Spread onions in roasting pan and top with sliced celery and carrots. Top with bay leaves and garlic

In saute pan, brown beef with melted schmaltz added or more oil if needed.
Add brisket to roasting pan

Deglaze the saute pan with the crushed tomatoes, ketchup and vinegar with dissolved brown sugar and pour over beef in roasting pan

Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 3 to 4 hours--until very tender

Cool meat before slicing very thinly. Best results if meat is chilled in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight

Pour off the pan juices and vegetables and refrigerate until fat is congealed and can be skimmed off the top. Add the ginger snaps and puree until a smooth gravy. The roasted veg give it body and a heavenly flavor.

Can be made a day or two in advance. Layer the meat and gravy in a plastic container and refrigerate. To reheat, place in a large saute pan with some additional gravy and heat gently or put it in a roasting pan with some gravy and heat in the oven

Heat the gravy and serve separately with a fresh bottle of white horseradish, pickle spears and, of course, potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce.

"A hybrid of Richard's mother's pot roast and Mary Alice's mother's sauerbraten that is served at the annual Goldman/Gorman/Babusci/Williams Hanukkah Dinner party."

Richard Goldman & Mary Alice Gorman
Mystery Lovers Bookshop
514 Allegheny River Boulevard
Oakmont, PA 15139

Please support your your books from an independent bookseller at


  1. Thanks so much for coming by the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen today...and sharing your special pot roast recipe with us!

    You've also given me some titles to add to my Christmas shopping list--thanks!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Thanks for joining us here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, Mary Alice! Your pot roast sounds wonderful and all your suggested books do, too. Big congratulations on your Raven Award!


  3. The recipe sounds delicious and perfect for a cold, rainy day like we have today in Georgia. Thanks for the list of books to check out. Always looking for good books to give as gifts.

  4. Hi Mary Alice! Thanks for the yummy pot roast recipe and for the book suggestions. Pot
    roast and books -- what more can you want?

  5. Welcome, Mary Alice. Great book suggestions. Needed some for Christmas gifts. And wow, that pot roast sounds amazing! Thanks for being our guest. It's a pleasure!

  6. What a wonderful combination of flavors for a pot roast! Thank you for sharing your "fusion" recipe and the list of books.

  7. The pot roast is smoothly spicy because of the dry rub before cooking. At 11 last night I just finished the slicing of tonight's 20 pounds of goodness for our annual dinner party. Caterer delivered potato pancakes and I finished making the curried sweet potato pancakes a few minutes ago......just waiting on the daughter's decorating team as all the other veggies are in pre-ready state and we are ready to go.
    I do love this time of year.......about those gift
    and above links are open 24/7!

  8. I'm drooling just reading this post, Mary Alice.
    Happy Holidays.

  9. I can personally attest to the magnificence of the pot roast! I can also attest to the great service at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. I do more and more of my holiday shopping there every year.

    The Bookshop also helps us support Beginning with Books, which provides new books to kids who might not otherwise have them.

    Be sure to check out the website and the gift guide at the links above.

    Books make the best gifts - and when you're done reading, your local libraries would love to have them!

    Kathy Sweeney

  10. This is an amazing list of gift book ideas for the holidays, especially for the food lovers who come to this site. Just click the titles and you are THERE to order the book, so easy.

    And that pot roast -- holy cow (forgive the pun). The layers of flavor in the ingredient list alone are making my mouth water. Finally congratulations to you Mary Alice, not only on the Raven Award but also on mega-bestselling author Debbie Macomber's choosing your outstanding recipe as a worthy holiday gift to her fans and friends. For you to share it on our site this week is a real gift to all of us.

    Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to you and your family!

    ~ Cleo

  11. Thank you so much for joining, us Mary Ann! Your pot roast recipe sounds heavenly. It contains all the wonderful flavors of the season. I can't wait to try it!

    ~ Krista