Showing posts with label #giveaway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #giveaway. Show all posts

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Warm Welcome to Guest Barb Ross

Oven-Roasted Beer Can Chicken with Potatoes from Stowed Away

Stowed Away, the sixth Maine Clambake Mystery, was released last week. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of the mass market paperback to two lucky commenters below.

Beer can chicken is most often made on a barbecue grill, but with one-third of the country in a deep freeze, I thought you might appreciate this oven-roasted version. Along with the fingerling potatoes, it makes the basis of a hearty winter meal.

In Stowed Away, Julia Snowden’s sister Livvie makes this dinner when their mother calls an impromptu family meeting. It’s a quick meal that pleases any crowd. While Livvie cooks it using an actual beer can, you can purchase a device called a beer can chicken holder from almost any kitchenware vendor.

Ingredients for the chicken:

1 whole chicken, 4 – 4-1/2 pounds
12-ounce beer can--any brand you have on hand will do
olive oil for rubbing over the chicken
Livvie’s rub for the chicken (or substitute your own rub)

Livvie used the following ingredients for the rub:

2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 Tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 Tablespoon onion powder
1/2 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon jalapeno powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lime zest


Preheat oven and sheet pan to 400 degrees. Stir together rub ingredients. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub chicken all over, inside and out, with olive oil. Rub chicken all over, inside and out, with the rub mix. Open beer can and pour out or drink 4 ounces, leaving 8 ounces in the can. Stand chicken on beer can by placing the neck over the can. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven for 1 hour.

Ingredients for the potatoes:

2 – 2-1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
olive oil
black pepper
dried oregano
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss with olive oil and seasonings. When chicken is done, remove from baking sheet pan and place on platter. Toss potatoes with drippings left in sheet pan and roast 20 to 25 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

About Stowed Away

It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .
When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .


Barbara Ross is the author of six Maine Clambake Mysteries: Clammed Up, Boiled Over, Musseled Out, Fogged Inn, Iced Under and Stowed Away. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel, and RT Books Reviewer’s Choice Awards, as well as the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers and with a group of writers of New England-based cozy mysteries at Wicked Cozy Authors. In the summer, Barbara writes on the big front porch of the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Find Stowed Away at:

Leave a comment and Barb will pick two winners of a copy of Stowed Away!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Salad

Christmas salad? Really? Isn't this the wrong season? Well, it is red and green and white, and I have an excuse—a new toy. Meet my spiralizer.

It all started in Skibbereen a couple of weeks ago, when we had lunch at the café attached to the West Cork Arts Center. Those nice people were responsible for the amazing red (beet and carrot) soup I wrote about here a while back. They make good food there, including desserts, which of course we had to investigate thoroughly.

They had a beet salad on the menu. Have I mentioned before that I don’t like beets? Well, I’ll have to edit that opinion: I don’t like the gummy sweet kind my mother used to serve. But the simple raw version is growing on me, so I tried the salad.

What was intriguing was that the beets formed a kind of spaghetti-like cluster on top of the greens. You’d think by now I’d have every kitchen gadget known to humankind, but somehow I’d missed the spiralizer. So now I have one (a rather rudimentary version, I will admit—I will have to investigate further options).

Before I tackled the beet recipe I had to experiment with the little critter. Carrots bombed—too tough. Turnips worked once I peeled them. So did potatoes. The zucchini was a pleasant surprise--it worked very well. Apples were a disaster—they fell apart. But the raw beets, once peeled, came out fine. (Note: I now have a stash of vegetable strings in the fridge. Not all would I want to eat raw, so I parboiled the tougher ones for a couple of minutes before refrigerating them. Haven’t gotten to all of them yet, but I fried up the potato strings and they cooked up nice and crisp.)




I tracked down whichever salad green has the red stems (the packages weren’t much help—mostly they say something like “Leafy Medley. The Irish call them “mixed leaves” on menus) which was what the café used, and which fit the holiday color theme. Putting the salad together is simple:

--wash your leaves if necessary and spin dry. Array on individual medium-size plates.

--shred the beets.

--make a nest of your shredded beets (or whatever other vegetables you’re using) on top of the leaves.

--sprinkle with sunflower seeds (the white note)—toasting them briefly gives them a slightly mellower flavor, if you have the time and space in your oven.

--drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette (or any non-creamy dressing)


In hindsight I think marinating the shredded beets in the dressing would have been a good idea, but not for too long or they’d get soggy and limp.

The result? A pretty, easy-to-make dish to add to your holiday table.

And a giveaway! While the next County Cork Mystery, Many a Twist, will be out next month, I thought it would be more appropriate for the season to give away a hardcover copy of Cruel Winter, which takes place during a blizzard and involves cooking for a group of stranded strangers who are snowed in at the pub--and one of them might be a murderer.

Leave a comment by the end of Sunday and I'll pick a winner!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Bramley Apple Pie and a Giveaway

I know, you've seen plenty of apple pie recipes, but there's a reason for this one.

It all started with the apples at the Skibbereen Farmers’ Market in West Cork. You see, in England and Ireland they have Bramley apples, which are large, green, and often kind of lumpy-looking. They hold their shape in cooking and they taste good. They were first described in 1809, and are the most important cooking apple in England and Ireland. For some reason they've never really caught on in the US, so I brought a few back with me.

I needed a recipe. As I have said (too many times) already, I’m lousy at making rolled pie crusts, so I decided to use a simple one that I could press into the pie pan, and I found a nice, easy recipe.

The rest I kind of borrowed from my own recipe for Apple Goodie. I’d never made that with a crust, but it seemed worth trying. Besides, the topping for Apple Goodie is also quick and easy, and you can mix up everything with your hands (saves washing up!).

Bramley Apple Pie


2 cups flour

3 Tblsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, 
   cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tblsp water

In a food processor, mix all the ingredients until the mixture is clumpy, but stop before it starts forming a ball. Or mix with your fingers.

Find a ten-inch pie plate (metal works best—I’m not sure how the crust would brown with a ceramic or Pyrex pie plate). Dump all the crumbs into the pan. Press the dough around the sides first, then the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and use a glass or cup and press the dough smooth all around (this helps firm it up so it holds together when you’re serving it). Remove the plastic (!).


Peel and slice your apples (I used three Bramleys, which made up between 3-4 cups. This is a shallow pie.), then toss them with some sugar, flour, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

Put the apples into the pie pan over the crust. Lay them sort of flat, but you don’t have to be fussy.


1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Mix coarsely (fingers again, if you want) and sprinkle over the apples in the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the pie in the middle of the oven (you might want to put a cookie sheet under it or on the rack below in case it oozes) and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until what you can see of the crust around the edge is nicely brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool for a while (but you can serve it still warm). I will confess I held my breath when I sliced it, but it came out in a tidy piece. Eureka! (And it tasted really good!)

And a holiday giveaway! I have my first author copies of Many a Twist, the next County Cork Mystery, which will hit the shelves next month, and I want to share one! Leave a comment about your favorite apple pie (or apple dessert, or just about anything that uses apples) and I'll pick a winner!

"This laid-back mystery combines plenty of puzzles with a strong feeling for life in small-town Ireland."
     --Kirkus Reviews

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Welcome to Our Guest Cheryl Hollon!

Cheryl Hollon is waving HI!

Fall is a much-anticipated time here along the West Coast of Florida. The temperatures have dropped to long-pants season and you might even catch us wearing a jacket in the evening. Another reason to celebrate is the return of reasonably priced fresh fish. This is the easiest recipe for fish EVER!

Easy Baked Fresh Fish


1 pound fresh white fish (like Grouper, Cod or Haddock)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise (here in the South, we use DUKE’S mayonnaise)
1/2 cup Italian Panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (any kind)
Fresh ground pepper (optional)
Tartar Sauce (optional)


Small baking pan
Aluminum Foil
Parchment Paper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Wrap baking pan in aluminum foil. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the baking pan.
Spread a tablespoon of mayonnaise on each fish filet making sure to cover the entire top of the filet as well as the sides. The bottom stays flat on the parchment paper. Shake a thin coat of the panko to cover the mayonnaise, then lightly sprinkle with the Italian seasoning.

Bake in the oven for 18-24 minutes. Do not turn fillets, leave them as they are. Check at 18 minutes. The fish is done when the meat is white and flaky. Serve over rice or my favorite, steamed mixed vegetables.

My husband absolutely loves this dish and in less than two minutes, here’s what that plate looks like. Then the gets another serving of fish!

The Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries featuring new owner Savannah Webb are set in St. Petersburg, Florida. The series starts with Pane and Suffering, then continues with Shards of Murder and Cracked to Death. The fourth book, Etched in Tears, releases on November 28, 2017, and is available for pre-order at the following links:


Isn’t this a gorgeous cover!

When a famous glass artist is murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to see through a killer’s cover.

Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glasswork. But as Savannah’s first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis’s return home has her reflecting on the past—a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father’s records sheds new light on Dennis’s history, but it seems his present life wasn’t so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it’s up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.

There’s a giveaway! Leave a comment to this blog and your email address in the form of name(AT)server(DOT)com to avoid the SPAM bots. This is a US only giveaway. Do this by midnight on November 7 for the chance to win a signed copy of your choice of one of the first three books in the series, Pane and Suffering, Shards of Murder, or Cracked to Death.

About Cheryl:

Cheryl Hollon writes full time after leaving an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling a lifetime dream, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

Cheryl is Vice President of the Florida Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime, a member of Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in DC, Thrillerfest in NYC, and Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis, IN . You will also find her at Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon, wherever they are being held.

Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL in a 1920’s Craftsman Bungalow.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Scallops with Ginger and Lemon Sauce

I may have mentioned that our town has acquired a new restaurant, The Charred Oak Tavern, in the large space that used to be a cooperative antiques center. It’s smack in the middle of town—where the town sorely needed a new restaurant.

We’ve actually eaten there more than once since it opened in July, with and without guests, because it’s a restaurant that’s pitched exactly right for its customers. It has a large and well-stocked bar (no, that’s not the most important thing) and a menu that is not too fancy for walk-ins, even those with children, but the recipes are carefully chosen and well-prepared. A hamburger there is not just a hamburger—it’s one you will remember and come back for again.

That’s where I ran into this dish. I have to point out that we’re not that far from the ocean here, and fresh scallops are easy to get. What impressed me, though, was that the sauce was not too heavy-handed. If you put citrus and fresh ginger in a dish like this, they can easily overwhelm the delicate flavors of seafood. Not in this case: everything worked together in harmony.

So of course I had to try it. And maybe I’ll have to go back to the restaurant to make sure I got it right, don’t you think? I want to make sure they stick around!

Scallops with Ginger and Lemon Sauce


1 pound large sea scallops
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp peanut oil
2 small shallots, chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp soy sauce
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tsp water
1 tsp cornstarch


Pat the scallops dry with paper towels (otherwise they will not brown) and salt lightly. 

Chop the shallots and mince (or grate) the fresh ginger.

Heat the sesame oil and peanut oil in a cast-iron or similar heavy skillet over high heat. Saute the scallops quickly in the hot oil for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Before . . .

and after

Add the chopped shallots to the pan and saute briefly until soft. Then add the ginger, wine, lemon juice and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about three minutes. Taste and add the red pepper if you like and adjust for salt.

Combine the water and the cornstarch, then stir into the sauce. Cook just until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the scallops to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce.

Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Note: I’ve seen several recipes for this dish that used orange juice rather than lemon juice. I find the orange flavor kind of overwhelming. The lemon juice is tart, but the scallops are a bit sweet, so they balance each other nicely.

In case I haven’t yelled it often enough, next Tuesday is the release day for the eleventh Orchard Mystery, A Late Frost. In honor of that I’m offering a copy of the book to one lucky person who comments—and tells me whether you like scallops.

In A Late Frost, the usually quiet town of Granford, Massachusetts, is even drowsier during the colder months. But this year it’s in for a jolt when Monica Whitman moves into town.

She’s a dynamo who wants to make friends fast in her new home, and she throws herself into community activities. She’s already sold the town board on a new, fun way to bring in visitors during the off-season: WinterFare, which will feature local foods (such as Meg’s apples) and crafts, as well as entertainment. 

Tragically, Monica falls ill and dies after the event in what looks like a case of food poisoning. When all the food served at WinterFare has been tested, including Meg’s apples, it becomes clear that there’s a more complicated explanation to the older woman’s sudden demise. 

Heirloom apples from my own
trees (and yes, they're supposed
to look blotchy like that!)
Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.