LUCY BURDETTE: Before I began exploring the mysteries of Key West, I wrote two other series (as Roberta Isleib.) The second series, called the Advice Column series, starred Dr. Rebecca Butterman, a clinical psychologist and advice columnist living in Connecticut. She worked out of an office in New Haven (in the same building where I had my private practice,) and she explored many of the places on the Connecticut shoreline that I'd grown to know and love.
The first in the series, DEADLY ADVICE, was published in 2006, though it was never converted to an e-book. Happily, the e-book version is now available!
Although this series is a little edgier than the food critic mysteries, the books are close to my heart because they draw so much from my previous career as a psychologist. In a poignant coincidence, given the terrible news this week about Robin Williams, DEADLY ADVICE opens with the mysterious suicide of Dr. Butterman's neighbor. She feels doubly troubled about this death, thinking she should have noticed something was wrong--both as a professional and as a neighbor.
When Rebecca Butterman is troubled, she cooks. Like Hayley Snow in the Key West mysteries, she loves to cook, to eat, and to share meals with her best women friends. But she doesn't think so much about the meaning of food the way food critic Hayley does. She's too busy puzzling over what makes people tick...
In honor of the launch of DEADLY ADVICE as e-book, I'm happy to share one of Dr. Butterman's favorite recipes, beef carbonnade. She would tell you to start the dish the day before you plan to eat it so it can sit in the refrigerator overnight, allowing the flavors to blend. She would also tell you that serving this meal to sad people might make their world a tiny bit brighter.
2 to 2 1/2 pounds beef cubes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
one garlic clove minced
Four medium onions, thinly sliced
4-6 carrots, sliced (I use the bigger amount)
3 tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
10 ounces canned beef broth
12 ounce bottle good beer
one bay leaf
Saute the beef cubes in several tablespoons of olive oil until they are brown. You will probably want to do this in batches, depending on the size of your frying pan. While the beef is browning, sprinkle it with sea salt and several generous grindings of fresh pepper.
Remove the beef to a large pot and sauté the sliced onion in the same frying pan, adding oil if needed. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and beginning to brown. Stir occasionally. Add in the flour, mix well, and cook that for two minutes.
Meanwhile add the vinegar, sugar, beef broth, beer, carrots, and the bay leaf to the pan containing the browned beef. Bring back to a boil, add the onions and mix well.
Cover this and cook on low heat for at least
two hours. The beef should be tender and the sauce should be thickening. The next day, skim any fat that has congealed. Then bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer briefly. Serve over egg noodles with green beans or a salad.
There are still paperback copies of Deadly Advice available, in addition to the brand new ebook. Book groups can find reviews here and discussion questions here.
About Deadly Advice: Psychologist Dr. Rebecca Butterman specializes in offering snappy relationship advice to lovelorn readers of Bloom! magazine. She rarely stumbles when solving the troubles of Dazed in Dayton or Anxious in Anchorage. But when her own husband double-crosses her and her next-door neighbor dies under suspicious circumstances, Rebecca is left without answers. While writing a column on the modern singles scene, Rebecca finds herself tracing her neighbor's steps into a dark dating world she never knew existed. Can she trust her own perceptions, or will she succumb to deadly advice?
Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries. As Roberta Isleib, she wrote the Advice Column mysteries and the Golf Lover's mystery series.
MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now. DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be out in December.
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