By Kate Carlisle, author of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY
Award winning author Kate Carlisle spent over twenty years working in television production as an Associate Director for game and variety shows, including The Midnight Special, Solid Gold and The Gong Show. She traveled the world as a Dating Game chaperone and performed strange acts of silliness on The Gong Show. She also studied acting and singing, toiled in vineyards, collected books, joined a commune, sold fried chicken, modeled spring fashions and worked for a cruise ship line, but it was the year she spent in law school that finally drove her to begin writing fiction. It seemed the safest way to kill off her professors. Those professors are breathing easier now that Kate spends most of her time writing near the beach in Southern California where she lives with her perfect husband.
A lifelong love of old books and an appreciation of the art of bookbinding led Kate to create the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. Find Kate online at www.katecarlisle.com.
Time and time again, I turn to a cookbook that I bought from a sale rack at the local bookstore. Just a lucky find. It’s a thick old thing that would normally intimidate me. (I don’t cook much, so I tend to stick with friendly little cookbooks with lots of pictures and words like “quick and easy” on the cover.) But it was on sale, so how could I resist?
It’s become my go-to cookbook because this thing has recipes for just about everything. It’s 20 years old by now, with food stains on many pages and notes scribbled in the margins. “This one is delicious!” or “Yum!” or “Under no circumstances should you ever attempt this one again.”
In my latest Bibliophile Mystery novel, A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY, Brooklyn Wainwright is asked by her sister Savannah to restore a leather-bound cookbook/journal she’s planning to give to her ex-boyfriend, an obnoxious celebrity chef. Brooklyn immediately sees that this book is a treasure. It was handwritten during the Revolutionary War by Obedience Green, an indentured servant who may also have been a spy. In the margins of this cookbook, in addition to notes about the recipes, there are strange symbols that could be a secret code.
Then the obnoxious chef is murdered, Savannah is discovered hovering over his body with a bloody knife in his hands, and the priceless cookbook is… gone. Vanished. Is it possible that a 200-year-old conspiracy had something to do with his death?
In my go-to cookbook, I recently tried a recipe called Chinese Asparagus. “Yum!” I wrote. Then I decided to modify it… and I’m proud to say, I like my Asparagus Sauté even better. It’s colorful and delicious!
Kate Carlisle’s Asparagus, Cashew and Cranberry Sauté
2 lb asparagus, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 T cornstarch
2 T cold water
1 C chicken broth
1 T soy sauce
1 T dry white wine
1 t maple syrup
2 T sesame oil
1 T olive oil
½ C cashews
½ C dried cranberries
In a small sauce pan, mix together cornstarch and cold water with a whisk. Add broth, soy sauce, white wine, and maple syrup. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Simmer until slightly thick, about one minute.
In a wok, heat both oils until shimmering. Add the asparagus and cashews. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the sauce and cranberries. Cook for one more minute. (Note: If you want to make this a complete meal, sauté shrimp along with the asparagus and cashews, then serve over white rice.)
* * *
Thank you, Kate, for a delish posting! As always, delightful. ~ Daryl aka Avery