We’re celebrating the upcoming release of BUTTER OFF DEAD, third in my Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, on July 7.
Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy!
Readers often ask where the recipes in my books come from. The answer depends on the recipe. Some, like Fettucine with Minted Tomato Sauce aka Fettucine a la Fresca and the Stuffed Mushrooms in DEATH AL DENTE, the first Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, and the Filet with Huckleberry Morel Sauce in CRIME RIB, are faves in my household. (We call the pasta dish Demented Fettucine.) Others, like the Huckleberry Margaritas and Martinis and the Jewel Bay Critter Crunch in BUTTER OFF DEAD, were created specifically for the book. Sometimes the plot demands a certain food! And in my Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, I’ve created both spice blends and dishes to use them based on the foods available in the Pike Place Market at the time of year when the story is set.
At other times, my characters eat a dish—old or new—because I’ve eaten and enjoyed it, and wanted to share it with you. Like these scones. We first made them from a recipe published in my college alumni magazine. They came from the long-time cook for the Jesuit community at Seattle University, serving both active and retired priests, so naturally, we call them “Jesuit scones.” (She says they originated as a variation of a Julia Child recipe.) But over time the recipe has evolved, as favorite recipes often do. Scones are particularly forgiving that way—you can vary the nuts and fruit based on what’s in your pantry, and top them with sugar or not. And because Erin likes to bake—a trait we share—it was inevitable that one Sunday morning, she’d make her own variation.
The morning after a night out, relax at home with Erin and the cats.
Erin’s Sunday Morning Scones
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole wheat flour*
¾ cup flaxseed meal
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (one stick) butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup buttermilk
zest of one orange
1/3 cup dried cranberries, soaked in hot water to plump and well-drained
cinnamon sugar** or raw sugar to sprinkle as a topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Toast the pecans for 10 minutes at 300 degrees, shaking the pan once or twice during baking. Don’t overbake; the nuts will continue to brown and crisp as they cool.
Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, or a mixer or food processor, mix the flours, flaxseed meal, baking powder, brown sugar, and baking soda. Add the butter and mix or pulse until the mixture looks like large crumbs. Add half the buttermilk and work in, adding the rest as the dough starts to pull together. (I like to use a food processor to mix in the butter and buttermilk more easily.)
If you’re using a food processor, transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Add pecans, zest, and cranberries.
Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Flour a large cutting board. Form the dough into a log. Cut the dough into five equal pieces. Use your hands to shape the first piece into a circle, about half an inch thick.
Cut into four equal triangles and transfer to the baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or raw sugar before baking, if you’d like. (Not shown.)
Makes 20 scones. These freeze beautifully.
* King Arthur’s unbleached white whole-wheat flour will give these scones a lighter color and texture that is particularly yummy, but if you can’t find it, regular whole-wheat flour works fine.
** 1 teaspoon cinnamon to 1/4 cup white sugar is a tasty combo. Erin stores the mix in a small airtight container, as it keeps well and is extra-tasty on scones, buttered toast, and oatmeal.
Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD! (Open till noon, Thursday, July 2; please include your email address.)
In an attempt to woo tourists to Jewel Bay and cheer up the townies, Erin Murphy, manager of the specialty local foods market known as the Merc, is organizing the First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, popping with classic foodie flicks and local twists on favorite movie treats. But when her partner in planning, painter Christine Vandeberg, is found dead only days before the curtain rises, Erin suspects someone is attempting to stop the films from rolling.
To make matters worse, Nick—Erin’s brother and Christine’s beau—has top billing on the suspect list. Convinced her brother is innocent and determined that the show must go on, Erin must find who’s really to blame before Nick gets arrested or the festival gets shut down. And as the anniversary of Erin’s father’s death in a still-unsolved hit-and-run approaches, her own beau isn’t so keen on her leading role.
But the closer Erin gets to shining a spotlight on the killer, the more likely it becomes that she’ll be the next person cut from the program…
Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. 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.
Connect with her on her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.