When I think of spring, I think of tulips, apple blossoms, and bird song. And because we live in the Northern Rockies, a late snowstorm or two. I do not think of cookbooks.
Except this year.
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen author-cooks are featured in two new cookbooks: THE MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK (Quirk Books, March 2015) featuring Sheila Connolly, Daryl Wood Gerber, and me, along with Mary Higgins Clark, Louise Penny, Scott Turow “and other acclaimed plot stirrers,” as the cover says.
THE COZY COOKBOOK (Berkley Prime Crime, April 2015) features excerpts and more than 100 recipes from eleven cozy mystery writers, including Cleo Coyle, Daryl Wood Gerber, and me, plus Ellery Adams, Laura Childs, Connie Archer, Victoria Hamilton, BB Haywood, Julie Hyzy, Jenn McKinlay, and Paige Shelton. (Where to buy? Check here.)
Publishers Weekly gave the books this delicious review!
And thanks to the publishers -- Quirk and Berkley Prime Crime -- we've got one copy of each to give away, to two lucky winners! Leave a comment by midnight, Wed April 8, to be entered. If you'd prefer one book over the other, say so; if not, you'll be entered for a blind drawing. U.S. addresses only.
So what’s on the menu? You'll recognize the themes of our books in our contributions to THE MWA COOKBOOK. Daryl Wood Gerber shares Cheddar-Monterey Jack Cheese Sauce with Broccoli, a recipe you might pick up at her character Charlotte’s Cheese Shop or find in a treasured volume at the Cookbook Nook, setting of her second series. (Note which gets top billing—and it’s not the vegetable!) Sheila Connolly serves up Apple Goodie, a recipe that Sheila’s been making since long before she started writing the Orchard Mysteries, and which she describes as “my all-time favorite comfort food.” Lucy Burdette contributed Shrimp and Grits, the winning recipe in the Southern cooking contest she created in her Key West Food Critic series. And my offering is a recipe I could easily imagine served at the Murphys’ Sunday table, in my Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, Farfalle with Fennel and Pine Nuts.
In THE COZY COOKBOOK, you’ll get a taste of recipes from several books (some previously published, some to come). To whet your appetite, Daryl gives us Jenna’s Monte Cristo Sandwich and gluten-free biscotti, Writing as Avery Aames, she serves up a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, for breakfast and lunch, San Simon Frittata, Pancakes with Gouda and Figs, and Gluten-free Popovers, and much more.
Cleo serves up Clare Cosi’s Doughtnut muffins and Coffee Cake muffins, as well as a smorgasbord of coffee drinks, Skillet Lasagna, Glazed Lemon Cookies, and oh, my, I’m getting hungry!
My two protagonists eat all over the map, so we’ve got appetizers, salads, cocktails (huckleberry martinis and margaritas!), steaks, pastas, including the recipe that provides a clue in Death al Dente, Fettucini with Minted Tomato Sauce aka Fettuccine a la Fresca. And we top it off with my Pumpkin Spice Coffee Blend and Mexican coffee.
Here’s a favorite of mine:
Erin’s Two Two-Bean and Pesto SaladFrom CRIME RIB by Leslie Budewitz
Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish, 10 to 12 as a side salad. This is a terrific pot luck dish!
1 pound of fresh green beans (the thin, or French, style called haricots vert, works best)
1 (-14 oz.) can white beans
1 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 small white onion, chopped fine (sweet, red, or green onions also work well, but a yellow onion will be too strong)
fresh pesto (see recipe, below)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Steam beans until tender-crunchy (start checking after about 3 minutes). (When steaming, use enough water to reach just below the bottom of your steamer basket.) Rinse, drain, and cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces, about an 1 inch long. Rinse and drain white beans. Mix vegetables and beans in a large bowl and toss with pesto. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled, by itself or on a bed of greens.
In a small (2-cup) food processor, loosely chop about 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves. Toss in one 1 or two 2 cloves of garlic—–the pesto will blend more easily if you slice or chop the cloves first. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse. Add oil and pulse until you get a good consistency for mixing with other ingredients. Add grated Parmesan and, if you’d like, pine nuts or walnuts, and pulse to mix well.
Remember, leave a comment by midnight, Wed April 8, for a chance to win one of these terrific new cookbooks! U.S. addresses only.
Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for Death al Dente (Berkley Prime Crime), first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books). She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.
Coming in July 2015: BUTTER OFF DEAD, third in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries!
Connect with her on her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.