Today Mystery Lovers Kitchen welcomes guest Maya Corrigan. The second book in her Five-Ingredient Mystery series, Scam Chowder, came out on June 30th.
MAYA CORRIGAN: Val Deniston, the sleuth in the series, quit her New York job as a cookbook publicist and moved in with her demanding grandfather. While running a café in a historic Chesapeake Bay town, she tests recipes for her long-planned cookbook . . . and solves murders. In By Cook or by Crook (2014), her grandfather keeps the reason for his sudden interest in cooking a secret from Val. By paring down her recipes to five ingredients and passing them off as his own, he’s acquiring a reputation as the town’s food guru, the Codger Cook.
In the second book of the series, Scam Chowder, Granddad throws a dinner party. He conceals from Val the real reason for the party—to expose one of his guests as a financial scammer targeting retirees. Val’s job is to prepare the meal and then disappear so Granddad can take all the credit for it. Though he complains that one of the appetizers she makes is ugly, it’s a hit with his guests (recipe below). A hit of another sort takes place when the next course is on the table, and the suspected scammer goes facedown in the chowder. With Granddad the prime suspect in the con artist’s murder, Val and her grandfather must work together to find out who poisoned the scammer’s chowder.
Each book in the series includes Granddad’s five-ingredient recipes. The following spread is a yummy appetizer, similar to tapenade. The addition of raisins and walnuts makes it less salty than tapenade. As Val’s grandfather says, it’s not a pretty appetizer, but chopped parsley on top makes it more colorful and appealing.
Serves 8 as an appetizer.
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Optional: parsley to sprinkle on top
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Chop until the mix holds together enough that it can be spread. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top for color. Serve with pita chips or bread. The spread complements hummus and even works well as a sandwich spread when mixed with hummus.
Maya Corrigan writes the Five-Ingredient Mysteries set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: By Cook or by Crook (2014) and Scam Chowder (2015). She won the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in unpublished Mystery/Suspense and the 2015 New England Reader’s Award for Mystery. When not reading and writing, she enjoys theater, tennis, trivia, cooking, and crosswords. Her website features book news, recipes, trivia, and quizzes about mysteries.
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