Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Herby Cheesy Spread -- #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  I’ve often said one of the secrets to adult life is to have friends who cook well, and I’m particularly fortunate in that regard. When I visited Seattle for the launch of ASSAULT & PEPPER, my first Seattle Spice Shop Mystery, I stayed with Lita, my best friend from college. She inspires me in many ways, not least in the kitchen. She’s got a knack I’ve given my main character, Pepper, for being able to step into her kitchen and emerge with what appears to be spontaneous deliciosity.

The moment I tasted this dip, loosely based on a three-cheese dip she watched Alton Brown make on his TV show, I knew I’d have to share it with Mr. Right—and with you.

If you’ve read my Spice Shop Mysteries, you know that the recipe section includes one or two recipes for the seasonal spice blends Pepper and the crew are mixing up at the shop. KILLING THYME includes a terrific Italian blend. I posted the blend two weeks ago with the Herbed Black Bean Pasta Salad; here’s the link. You can also use a commercial blend if you have one.

This spread is even better the second or third day—if you can keep yourself from eating it all at once. An easy flavor variation: substitute 2 tablespoons of the Italian blend for the herbs and spices listed below, and omit the ½ teaspoon salt.

(Sorry the pictures aren’t so great—I took them with the old camera, now-deceased!)

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of KILLING THYME, the second Seattle Spice Shop Mystery!

Pepper’s Herby-Cheesy Spread 

4 to 5 ounces Parmesan or Parmesan-Reggiano, cut in small cubes
4 to 5 ounces Asiago, cut in small cubes
4 scallions or ¼ cup chives, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1½ teaspoons Aleppo pepper***
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons black pepper
½ cup olive oil, more or less

***Aleppo pepper is hard to find these days, because of the war in Syria. Substitute Maras peppers, the Turkish counterpart, or any good red pepper. A paprika, especially a smoked paprika would also be tasty.


Place the cheese cubes in the bowl of a large food processor and pulse or chop until coarse. Add the scallions or chives, and the oregano, red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Process until fully mixed.


Pour in the olive oil and process until fully blended and smooth. Use less oil for a thicker spread, more oil for a thinner, smoother spread. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your palate.


Let the spread sit at room temperature until you’re ready to serve it, to allow the flavors to develop. Store leftovers in the fridge, but let the spread return to room temperature before diving in again to get the fullest flavor. Serve with hearty crackers, crostini, or cut vegetables.


DO YOU have a favorite recipe from a friend? Do tell!

Leave a comment below, with your email address, for a chance to win a signed copy of KILLING THYME, the second Seattle Spice Shop Mystery! The winner will be chosen on Friday, October 21.

From the cover of KILLING THYME. out October 4 in paperback, e-book, and audio:  

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. after Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?


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. The 2015-16 president of Sisters in Crime, 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.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.




57 comments:

  1. Yes! Cheesy pototoes!!! I really am looking forward to reading your book soon! If I'm lucky I'll win it! Thanks donamaekutska7@gmail.com

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  2. I have many great recipes, but I think my grandmother's soup is my favorite. This looks like a fantastic recipe, I can't wait to try it. Thank you for all of the fun books! konecny7(at)gmail(dot)com

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  3. Love this recipe; and the book sounds fantastic! EMS591@aol.com

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  4. This herby-cheese spread soundss delish. My chives and oregano are still growing outside...such a weird summer/fall in Ontario, so maybe I will give this recipe a try. I had just come back from a 6 week university course in Austria-Hungary and was looking for some authentic recipes. My Hungarian friend had just permanently moved back to Toronto and I got her recipe for a Hungarian goulash served with a homemade spaetzle. I have many it so many times, esp. in the fall and winter months. So hearty and satisfying! And DON'T put me in the drawing for Killing Thyme...you know I got my copy even before the official release day...yay for pre-orders in Canada!

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    1. Cheesy potatoes, soup, and real-live goulash and spaetzle -- you all are making me hungry!

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  5. This recipe sounds awesome, can't wait to try it!!! I do a recipe where you cut a loaf of French bread on top and pour a butter and herb mixture in the cuts, then add cheese and bake in the oven. Its basically a pull apart bread.
    yellowwyytch@yahoo.com

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  6. Looks delicious! Most of the recipes I have from friends involve dessert or treats! In fact, I just made my friend Sarah's Monster Cookie bites!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. Yum! I bet this would be great on Italian bread and broiled for a few minutes. I'm drooling already!

    My favorite recipe from a friend is a taco salad, and the special ingredients are crushed Doritos and Catalina salad dressing. It's so tasty! Thanks for the giveaway and recipe! aleonardi (at) my.com

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  8. Wonderful recipe. My mother's stew is a recipe I follow every fall and winter. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. It's soup and stew season for many of us, isn't it? Taryn, that herb bread would go great with Traveler's stew, and Monster Cookie Bites for dessert!

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  9. That cheese spread sounds like it could be a hit for holiday parties. I got a pineapple bar recipe years and years ago from a college friend that I still make today for special occasions.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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    1. Sue,I think it would be! Your bars sound great -- coconut?

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  10. Warm it up and it would be a tasty Welsh Rarebit cousin.
    Many of my recipes come from you ladies!
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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  11. Looks enticing. Thanks for the recipe and giveaway. A recipe from a friend was apple cake which everyone loves especially after apple picking. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh, apple cake! Perfect after harvest day!

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  12. It sounds delicious! My friends Mark and Layne often post recipes to my Facebook wall which look and sound amazing. I've yet to make them myself though.

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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    1. Nothing beats a friend who shares a favorite recipe -- except a friend who makes it for you!

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  13. Love my mother-in-law's candied pecans. Made with sour cream and sugar with a dash of cinnamon. I've never seen them anywhere else. Would love a copy of Killing /thyme. Thanks for the opportunity. choirlady27(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  14. This sounds just wonderful and so does the book. I would love to read a print copy and review at a few sites. ptclayton2@aol.com

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  15. Yummy. A former co-worker and I used to walk and talk and exchange recipes and collect cookbooks for each other - those little books put out the the local chambers of commerce or ladies' clubs or churches. I had forgotten what fun that was. Thanks for the giveaway.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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    1. Oh, I know the cookbooks you mean. Some of them are more hilarious than helpful, but I've found a few gems!

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    2. Exactly. Not always good cooking, but definitely good reading.

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  16. I read the first book in the series Assault and Pepper, loved it. Have the second. Recipes are great.
    ninaatmyhouse@yahoo.com

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  17. I read the first book in the series Assault and Pepper, loved it. Have the second. Recipes are great.
    ninaatmyhouse@yahoo.com

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  18. My favorite is Bruschetta made with fresh Basil & Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes <3
    Heck, Homemade Guacamole with LOTS of fresh Cilantro, Garlic, Onion & Lime juice is Fantastical too!
    Cheers-
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  19. My favorite is Bruschetta made with fresh Basil & Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes <3
    Heck, Homemade Guacamole with LOTS of fresh Cilantro, Garlic, Onion & Lime juice is Fantastical too!
    Cheers-
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  20. I read about Aleppo pepper in Assault and Pepper, but am still not sure what differentiates it from other peppers -- can you fill me in? Thanks! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Celia, Aleppo pepper is a red pepper grown in N. Syria, in the region around Aleppo, with a distinctive flavor. I've still got a small stash of it, but it's become largely unavailable due to the war. When we were browsing spice shops and ethnic groceries in Seattle last week, we saw only the substitute, Maras pepper, grown in southern Turkey. I'm told it's similar, but doesn't have quite the same flavor. We'll do a taste test when we get home.

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    2. I just ordered some from World Spice Merchants in Seattle - they seem to have some in stock. I can't wait to try it (along with the other spices I ordered - reading your spice shop mysteries has gotten me inspired)!

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    3. Oh, World Spice is a most fabulous place! Pics from there on my FB Author page when I get home!

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  21. Sounds wonderful. Looking forward to trying it! jhteague (at) me (dot) com

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  22. Anything with cheese has to be good. This recipe looks so very tasty. Thanks for putting it in your blog. Also for the opportunity to enter the giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

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  23. A friend of mine noticed how much i love blue cheese and shared a simple recipe for a spread used on crackers or baguette. It is one sharp blue cheese, and one part butter with the addition of chopped walnuts to your taste. Set in a bowl sprinkle top with chopped parsley and serve.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com
    Lil

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    1. Lil, butter and cheese? Sounds seriously good!

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  24. My family loves cheese. Will need to give this recipe a try. pwtish171@gmail.com

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  25. I can't wait to try this recipe it looks wonderful!! I can't wait to read the book either. chettysmom@yahoo.com

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  26. My husband would LOVE this recipe. Definitely gonna try it. Your books are such fun.

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  27. Thanks for all the lovely comments! Keep 'em coming -- contest is open through Wed!

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  28. I'm still reading Guilty as Cinnamon and LOVING it!!! We're going next summer and I'm so excited!
    awilcox1182@gmail.com

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  29. I love cheese spreads and this receipe sounds great for my annual Super Bowl party. Several of my guests enjoy things on the spicy side. Thank you for posting the receipe. I can't wait to try it!
    Your book sounds delightful, and I am hooked on mysteries.

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  30. I love this series I'm looking forward to this one, great review thank you
    Penney penneyw(at)sbcglobal.net

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  31. I don't have any recipes from friends to share but I have to thank you for letting me know about Aleppo peppers. It was nice to hear something about Aleppo that wasn't heart breaking. When the war ends, I will have to buy and try them. jenne.turner@unt.edu

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  32. I have a great broccoli and cheddar soup recipe. Nothing like a great soup and s good cozy mystery.
    xzjh04@ gmail.com
    xzjh04@ gmail.com

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  33. I am reading Killing Thyme right now and I really like it. A favorite recipe that I can't leave alone when I make it is one that uses coleslaw mix with Ramen noodles. I recently made it for a church picnic but only had a little left when I came home. So I made another whole recipe just for me so I could eat it for a few days.

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  34. That herb cheese spread sounds amazing and it's definitely something I have to make. Love the spice shop series and I can't wait to read "Killing Thyme".
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  35. Your recipe looks scrumptious! I just found a recipe for peanut butter dip that you can spread on graham crackers! It's going to be a big hit with my family. Thanks for sharing your recipe Leslie.
    Dblaser(at)windstream(dot)net

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  36. that looks similar to my aunt's Christmas cheese ball, but hers is made with ream cheese. Sounds yummy! lafs3478@yahoo.com

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  37. Cozy mysteries with recipes are my favorite. I love when a new book comes out! Thanks for the chance to win. Bonnie (bmalic610@yahoo.com)

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    1. I forgot to mention that I still use my sister's homemade fresh salsa recipe and still love it.

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  38. Culinary mysteries are my favorite! I love trying new recipes. I still use my sister's homemade fresh salsa recipe and still love it. Bonnie (bmalic610@yahoo.com)

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  39. Cheese spread sounds amazing! Love anything with parm cheese + herbs!My fav cheese recipe is hot cheese dip with parm + 2 other cheeses, white wine & herbs-my mom perfected this in 1970s! Love checking in to mysteryloverskitchen and finding both great recipes & great future reads! key2117 at aol.com

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  40. My recipes come from my mother or cookbooks! I'd love to win this book! Thanks for the chance!
    lindaherold999@gmail.com

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  41. The book and the recipe both look good. Thank you for sharing and thank you for the chance to win.

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  42. Oh so yummy! It would be wonderful spread on crostini or a wheat baguette with a bowl of homemade Tomato soup or Minestrone! I see this in my near future! Thanks for a chance to win! shadowfax6994@att.net

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