Showing posts with label 4 and Twenty Blackbirds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4 and Twenty Blackbirds. Show all posts

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans for a Summer Party

 LUCY BURDETTE:  A couple of weeks ago we had some wonderful Key West pals visiting. We wanted to invite some local friends to meet them and to celebrate summer--what better excuse to throw a party? 

I had the urge to cook, but it had to be dishes that could be mostly made ahead so I would stay calm and enjoy the party. I chose a few that I knew well and a couple new dishes.

 Here's the menu I came up with:

Hummus with crackers and crudites
Curried Chicken Salad
Asian Cucumber Salad
Tossed Salad (made by my friend Jane)
Assorted grilled sausages
Leek biscuits (courtesy of the amazing Guilford, CT bakery 4 and 20 Blackbirds)
Sesame noodle salad
Scarlet O'Hara cupcakes
Orange-glazed angel food cake (4 and 20 Blackbirds)
Italian cookies (made by my friend Annette)


The house guests were wonderful choppers and helped me keep the dishes washed. 

Meanwhile, these guys were keeping a close eye on the chicken salad. You all know Tonka by now, my Aussie.... If you think the red dog looks a little chagrined, this photo was taken after he snatched a stick of butter off the counter and devoured it while Tonka watched.:) His name is Henry, as in Henri Stentzel of AN APPETITE FOR MURDER fame.


One roasted chicken, skinned, boned
One bunch red grapes, washed and halved
3 Sprigs of dill, washed and chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 to 1 cup mayonnaise, to taste
1 tsp curry powder
2-3 ribs celery, washed and chopped

I used purchased roast chicken from the supermarket, but you could also use leftovers from your own roast chicken. Debone the chicken, strip off skin and any chewy bits, break into bite-sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Wash and chop 2-3 sticks of celery. Wash the red grapes, halve them and add to the bowl. Wash dill and snip into the bowl. Toast 1/2 cup pecan pieces and add them. 


Mix the mayonnaise with the curry powder and adjust seasoning. Fold this into the chicken mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dessert! The Scarlet O'Hara cupcakes for the chocolate people and the angel food cake for the rest...or some of each, which is what most chose:)

It was a wonderful night!

Here's a bit of happy book news: AN APPETITE FOR MURDER has gone back for a third printing--thanks to every one of you readers! And the edits on MURDER WITH GANACHE have been turned in to the publisher. Phew and yay!

Don't forget to Follow Lucy on Pinterest, or Facebook, or Twitter. The Key West food critic mysteries can be found wherever books are sold! MURDER WITH GANACHE, will be out in February--though you can pre-order it now!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chef Boyd's Mediterranean Fish Soup from Topped Chef

Table set with Cod Soup
LUCY BURDETTE: I have a confession on today's post--although I put this recipe in TOPPED CHEF, I had never made it myself. I had certainly eaten it--my friend and excellent cook Tim Boyd served it and I was wowed. So I asked if I might include it in the third Key West mystery.

 A couple of weeks ago, I was discussing getting together with some good friends, the Charkows, and as usual, we argued over who had hosted whom last. 

"I need you to come here," I said after a few times back and forth, "because I have to make this recipe for the blog." 

"What exactly is a blog?" Carol asked. 

Lucy with friends Carol and Jay, plus Tonka
But in the end, they came and I made Tim's codfish soup. Everyone declared it delicious! You'll see below that there are two steps--first the chunky basil sauce, then the soup. I made it the day before and added the fish at the last minute. We served it with toasted baguette slices that had been brushed with olive oil. 

Mediterranean Cod Soup

Chunky Basil Sauce
Plus one additional can (35 oz) of crushed or diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped onions
1 ½ lb fresh cod cut into two inch chunks
2 green zucchini cut into 1/2” dice
¼ cup sliced black olives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon (I omitted this)
2/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 cup water (optional) (or a little more broth to thin)

Add the crushed tomatoes to the chunky basil sauce along with the onions, zucchini, olives, wine and stock. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer until zucchini is soft. Add water or stock to the desired thickness. At this point the soup can sit overnight (and the flavors usually improve) or longer if chilled.

Recipe for Chunky Basil Sauce:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspooon each: dried oregano, dried basil, garlic and salt
1 (35 oz) can Italian whole tomatoes

Heat oil and sauté shallots, onions and spices. Pour off about 1 cup of the liquid from the tomatoes and set aside. Chop the tomatoes coarsely and add to the oil/spice mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer for 35 minutes or so. If sauce gets too thick, add a little of the reserved tomato liquid.

To serve:

Heat the soup to serving temperature and add the cod chunks. The cod will cook quickly so test every few minutes. When the cod is done, remove the chunks with a slotted spoon and place in the serving bowls. Ladle soup over the top. 

Hayley Snow invites Lorenzo the tarot card reader to lunch in Topped Chef. She decides she’ll serve him Mediterranean fish soup. Here’s how it goes:

Once the half-frozen tomato sauce was warming in a pan, I began to dice zucchini, black olives, and onions while Miss Gloria cut the ciabatta into thick slices and brushed them with olive oil. Adding the vegetables to the pan with two-thirds cup of white wine and chicken broth, I brought the sauce to a simmer and cut the grouper into chunks. While the bread toasted, Miss Gloria finished setting the table.

“Do you think he’ll read our cards?” she asked. “I’ve never had it done. I’m a little nervous.”

I didn’t tell her I was nervous, too. I’d never seen Lorenzo as a civilian. Or cooked for him. But more than that, the last time he’d read my cards, I’d almost lost my mother. I realized that somehow the two things had started to get twined up in my brain: tarot and danger.

It's me Lucy again. I had planned to make a lime sponge cake for dessert, but my favorite bakery 4 and Twenty Blackbirds is next door to the fish shop. I couldn't resist their lovely orange sponge cake with lemon glaze--I served with a fruit salad. Yummy!

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