Please welcome guest, Janet Rudolph!
Janet Rudolph is the editor of the Mystery Readers Journal and creative director/writer at Murder on the Menu/ TeamBuilding Unlimited. She blogs daily at Mystery Fanfare and DyingforChocolate.com, facilitates a weekly mystery bookgroup, hosts literary salons with mystery authors, and has been a committee member on numerous mystery conventions. A long time contributor to the mystery genre, she received her Ph.D. in religious mystery fiction. She lives in the Berkeley (CA) hills with her husband, a golden retriever, and two cats. She has won the Anthony Award for Special Service to the Mystery Field, the Don Sandstrom Lifetime Achievement Award in Mystery Fandom and will receive the Malice Domestic Poirot Award in 2011. She Tweets and Retweets Mystery and Chocolate on Twitter @JanetRudolph
Take it way, Janet!
Many years ago I read The Five Year Sentence by Booker Prize winner Bernice Rubens. In it a woman who works in a sweets (candy) factory is preparing for her last day of work. She’s cleaned her house, and she’s checked the oven. Everything is ready, we’re sure, for her return from the day when with nothing left to do in her life, she will return home and turn on the gas. However, fate intervenes, and she is given a 5 year diary as a retirement gift. It’s as if she’s been given ‘a five year sentence’. She feels she has an obligation to fill in each day. The novel takes some imaginative turns, and Bernice Rubens, who was also a mystery author, should be sought out and read.
Sometimes I feel like the woman in the story…not the suicide bit… but being given a ‘purpose’ to do what I do. When I started my Chocolate Blog, DyingforChocolate.com, I followed a similar thought process, and although I do random posts such as chocolate reviews, chocolate news and recipes as they strike me, for the most part I post recipes that coincide with the Food Holiday of the Day. They’re at the top of my ‘diary’.
Surprisingly every day is some sort of Food Holiday (See The Nibble). Even if the Food Holidays aren’t specifically chocolate, just about everything goes well with chocolate, so I post a chocolate recipe! The big holidays are easy: Christmas, Easter, Passover, Halloween…lots of chocolate, but there are some very esoteric food holidays, such as:
Chocolate Covered Insect Day (October 14): Chocolate Scorpions (not for the faint of heart)
National Cocoa Day (December 12): Recipe Round up from Mexican to Peppermint
National Espresso Day (November 24): Espresso Truffles
California Strawberry Day (March 21): Strawberry Chocolate German Pancake
National Rice Pudding Day (August 9): Chocolate Rice Pudding
National Pecan Day (April 14): Chocolate Pecan Pie
Be sure and search DyingforChocolate.com for more Food Holidays and easy and delicious recipes.
As well as writing chocolate posts to fit a particular holiday, I do something similar on my mystery blog, Mystery Fanfare. On Mystery Fanfare, along with posts about the mystery world in general, I am drawn to dates and holidays and make extensive lists of titles that fit the holidays. Have a look at my Christmas Crime Novels list that is so big this year that I’ve divided it into 5 posts. I’ve also posted Halloween Mysteries, Fourth of July Mysteries, Father’s Day Mysteries and lots of other holidays.
I suppose I’m still in school with the teacher giving me a topic to use as a springboard, or as in Rubens’ novel, a day in a diary to fill in. I’m so lucky to write about my passions chocolate and crime fiction! This isn’t to say I don’t stray a bit with reviews and recipes ‘off list’, but for the most part I find it fun to fulfill the day and holiday… in mystery and in chocolate. I get into a bit of a Zen state when I’m writing and researching a holiday post.
So, you might say my whole life is about mystery and chocolate. How sweet it is!
Here’s a wonderful and easy recipe for the holidays! It coincides with December 24: National Eggnog Day!
Dark Chocolate Eggnog Truffles
3/4 cup eggnog (good thick quality brand/or make it yourself)
11 ounces dark chocolate (65-85 % cacao, fair trade, organic) chopped
3 tbsp sweet butter, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp superfine sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Heat the eggnog over medium heat almost to the boiling point, stirring constantly. Do not boil.
2. Immediately remove pan from heat, turn heat to low. Add chocolate and butter to eggnog. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, returning to low heat if necessary.
3. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer at high speed for 5 minutes.
4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until mixture is firm but pliable.
5. In small bowl, mix superfine sugar with nutmeg and cinnamon; set aside.
6. Scoop out about 1 teaspoon of chocolate mixture and roll into a ball (or use a melon baller and mold), then roll each ball in sugar mixture.
7. Place truffle on baking sheet covered with parchment.
9. You can store truffles in airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week, but they’ll probably all be eaten, so you won’t need to worry!
***Wow! Janet, this was a wonderful post. Who knew there were so many holidays??? I'm still giggling at the insect one. Thanks for being our guest.
Here is a Christmas treat because we have a guest...who among you are candy makers or bakers? Not professionals. But you love to get in the kitchen and make sweet things.
Share what you bake or make in a comment. Not the recipe. The title. and if you think it fits a certain holiday, in honor of Janet, share which holiday.
I'm giving away a free copy of THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE today to someone who comments!
If you've read the book already, you can give it to a friend!
And last but not least...if you'd like to read a sneak preview of book two: Lost and Fondue, it is up on my website. Check it out at AVERY AAMES.
While you're there, sign up for the mailing list and you'll be included in future contests coming up to promote Lost and Fondue.