Showing posts with label Assault and Pepper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Assault and Pepper. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Alice's Classic Cherry Pie

Pie! Oh, we love pie! 

That's the opening line of the poem "Pie" by Susan Bright, from her collection Tirades and Evidence of Grace, which I found more than twenty years ago when it was reprinted in the UTNE Reader. A yellowed copy still marks the Pies section of my recipe binder. (No spoilers here, but it also becomes an unexpected performance piece in BUTTER OFF DEAD, the third Food Lovers' Village Mystery, out July 7 and available for pre-order now!)

“If you want to learn how to bake a good cake,” my father told young me, “talk to your Aunt Peggy. But for pie, watch your mother.”

I’ve confessed before, I did not grow up in a foodie family. I will not confess our sins here, but they were many. The bright spot? My mother loved to bake, perhaps a remnant of her German farm ancestry or her fond memories of afternoons with her grandmother in the 1930s. Whatever the reason, she picked up a fondness for pie that I nurture still.

And who doesn't love pie?

Every year in my childhood, my mother made two cherry pies for the Winter Carnival held at the Catholic high school. One year, a certain five year old ate all the crust around the edge of a cherry pie. Said child did not get to go to the Carnival that year. She is still pouting.



And I still love cherry pie. (I helped my mother move recently and was pleased to see she’d replaced the old wooden rolling pin with the red handles that always fell out, though she kept it. I snared them both.)


An aside: I loved to bake with my mother for the ritual of it. Which included wearing aprons. When my father’s mother died and we went to St. Paul for the service and family gathering, one of my aunts took me into my grandmother’s bedroom and told me she’d left me a gift: a box of cherry Lifesavers and a plastic apron. If it hadn’t rotted years ago, I’d show you a picture; I know it sported cherries. (There were others in the drawer as well; I suspect each of my girl cousins got one!) No wonder Luci the Splash Artist in my Food Lovers Village Mysteries cherishes vintage aprons. 

When I told my mother I’d made her cherry pie for this post, she told me a story I did not recall. The Christmas I was four, we went back to Minnesota, where my parents were from, to visit, and stayed with my favorite aunt and uncle—my father’s sister Lois and her husband Pete, coincidentally the parents of mystery writer Laura Childs. Aunt Lois made a pie. She came out into the living room holding a can of pie filling—which did not have a picture of the fruit—and asked my mother, “Can that child read?” I hadn’t seen the pie, just the can. But reading matters. How else would I have known we were about to celebrate with cherry pie?

Now, I am not one of those cooks who never uses prepared products—canned pie filling, for example—but I see no reason not to make your own pie crust. It’s honestly not that difficult. (A neighbor who envied my mother’s pastry prowess complained that her dough ended up looking like Idaho. Nice for a state; a problem for a pie.) Make sure your dough is damp enough to hold together—here in semi-arid Montana, where flour can dry out a bit, that sometimes means adding extra liquid. The oil or butter makes a dough easy to work with—it responds to the heat of your hands. I like to roll the crust between sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper; you’re not actually rolling the dough, and it’s easy to flip it into the pie plate.

This recipe is also flexible. The Monday after Cherry Pie Sunday, we made a quiche. Why two pies in two days? Why not? I added fresh ground pepper and used half canola oil, half olive oil. And by golly, super fab.

“Easy as pie.”

Classic Cherry Pie with Alice’s Double Crust 

This is not your classic butter-and-ice-water crust, though to my mind, it’s a lot easier. But this week, we’re not talking “best I ever ate” or “best according to the experts;” we’re talking food, memory, love. And this is it.


In a medium bowl, mix:
2 cups white flour
        1-1/2 teaspoon salt

Pour into a glass measuring cup (hey–they always used glass back then, and it does have a visibility advantage):
½ cup oil
1/4 cold milk

Pour liquid ingredients all at once into the flour. Stir until mixed. Press into a smooth ball. Flatten and roll out between two sheets of waxed paper.




(For a single crust pie, use 1-1/2 cups white flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup oil, and 3 tablespoons cold milk.)

Traditional cherry pies are made with a lattice top, but it’s far from necessary.

Now, if I were making this my way, and the fruit stands on the east shore of Flathead Lake were open, I would use either fresh cherries or local fruit canned for pies. But it’s April as I write, and we’re talking the Mom Thing. So I’m doing as she would do and using canned fruit.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make a double crust. Line an 8 or 9 inch pie plate with a crust. Pour in 3 cups of pie filling. Top with the second crust and seal. (That’s the cute pinch-y part that my mother had the patience for. I don’t. Your choice.) Since we’re not doing a fancy lattice, be sure to cut Xs or slashes to let the steam escape. Bake 50-55 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the bottom looks baked, too. (Another advantage to a glass pie plate.)


Cool as long as you can, then eat. Vanilla ice cream is a bonus. But remember: the first piece is ALWAYS a mess!


Much as I love cherry, and apple, my absolute favorite pie is rhubarb custard, a classic from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. What’s your favorite?  


Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for DEATH AL DENTE (Berkley Prime Crime), first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for BOOKS, CROOKS & COUNSELORS: HOW TO WRITE ACCURATELY ABOUT CRIMINAL LAW & COURTROOM PROCEDURE (Quill Driver Books). 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. 

Coming in July 2015: BUTTER OFF DEAD, third in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries! (Available for pre-order now, in all formats.)

Connect with her on her websiteon Facebook, or on Twitter. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Super-easy, Super-colorful Broccoli Slaw

by Leslie Budewitz

The standard cole slaw, with its creamy dressing, sometimes studded with caraway seeds, is a deli staple around the country. This easy version is a fabulous substitute, very forgiving of amounts and open to many variations. I like to use baby broccoli or broccolini instead of the more common variety, in part because many grocers chop off and discard the stems. I suppose many customers do prefer the florets, but the stems hold a lot of vitamins and minerals, and the thin stems of baby broccoli or broccolini are quite tender, even raw. This is a bright and beautiful salad that goes well with any protein—grilled chicken, a stuffed burger, or salmon are particularly good. And it keeps well for lunches.

Broccoli Slaw

½ pound baby broccoli or broccolini (stalks and florets), thinly sliced
2 medium to large carrots, grated
1/3 to ½ small red cabbage, thinly sliced and chopped.
½ cup raisins (optional)

Scant ½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste


 Place the broccoli, carrots, cabbage, raisins, and any other additions in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, brown sugar, and vinegar, using a small whisk or a fork. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper to your own taste—a touch of salt nicely balances the sweetness of the dressing.


Other tasty additions: half a red bell pepper, thinly sliced and chopped, 1-2 tablespoons of poppy seeds, half a green apple, diced, or 1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds.


From the cover of ASSAULT AND PEPPER, March 2015 (Berkley Prime Crime):

Pepper Reece, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix…

After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars.

But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on her doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest Tory Finch, one of Pepper’s staffers, for murder.

Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!


Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for Death al Dente (Berkley Prime Crime), first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books). 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.

Coming in July 2015: BUTTER OFF DEAD, third in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries!

Connect with her on her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Penne Rigate with Asparagus and Sesame-Chile Shrimp #bookgiveaway

By Leslie Budewitz

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of ASSAULT AND PEPPER!


From ASSAULT AND PEPPER -- first in the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries, March 2015

“The ice bag slid off my foot and I wriggled it back in place. The loft door opened and Reed walked in, followed by his father, carrying a worn black medical bag. Behind him came Laurel and Tag, lugging a basket of familiar white take-out bags.

“Am I throwing a party and didn’t know it?” I asked.

Bags were set down, kisses exchanged, inquiries made.

“My son said you needed help.” Ron Locke gestured toward my ankle. He had the same unruly black hair as his son.

Reed shrugged. “Can’t have you on the sick list. Not while there’s a killer on the loose.”

Five minutes later, I was pinned down good, acupuncture needles ringing my ankle. In the kitchen, Tag and Laurel unpacked her bags and opened wine. A tossed salad and penne rigate with shrimp, asparagus, and a sesame-chile sauce. Warm, herby aromas drifted through the loft.

Laurel took pity on me and brought me a salty, crusty Parmesan breadstick, one of my very favorite foods, and a glass of white wine.”

No caterer on call? No matter! At Ripe, Laurel makes this with penne rigate, the short, ridged tubes, but the thicker-ridged rigatoni or farfalle, better known as bow ties, also work well.

This is an easy salad to serve warm or at room temperature, and requires very little shopping. Pepper keeps a small jar of grated ginger in her fridge for emergency cravings. If you like a little more heat, use hot sesame chili oil.

Penne Rigate with Asparagus and Sesame-Chile Shrimp

¼ cup white or brown sesame seeds, toasted
1 pound penne rigate
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut in ½-inch pieces (if asparagus isn’t available, substitute  broccolini)
¼ cup peanut butter (chunky or fresh-ground)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup hot water
1 pound medium shrimp, tail-off, cooked
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips (“julienne”)
4 green onions, thinly sliced and cut into 3-inch pieces
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (divided use)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes. Don’t overbake; they will continue to brown a bit as they cool.

Cook and drain the pasta. During the last minute of cooking time, add the asparagus. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking.

While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Combine the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Add the hot water and stir—a fork or small whisk works best—until the sauce is smooth, breaking up any chunks.

Pour the pasta into a large bowl for serving. Add the shrimp, red bell pepper, green onions, and ¼ cup of the cilantro. Add the sauce and mix to combine all the ingredients. Top with the remaining ¼ cup cilantro and the toasted sesame seeds.



Serves 6 to 8.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of ASSAULT AND PEPPER!

From the cover of ASSAULT AND PEPPER:

Pepper Reece, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix…

After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars.

But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on her doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest Tory Finch, one of Pepper’s staffers, for murder.

Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!

ASSAULT AND PEPPER, March 3, 2015 (Berkley Prime Crime)
ISBN-13: 978-0425271780
7.99

Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for Death al Dente (Berkley Prime Crime), first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books). 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.

Coming in July 2015: BUTTER OFF DEAD, third in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries!

Connect with her on her websiteon Facebook, or on Twitter .

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mexican Coffee - Launch Day - #bookgiveaway


by Leslie Budewitz

Today is the launch of the first in Leslie's new series, the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries. To celebrate, she's pouring drinks---and offering a signed copy of ASSAULT AND PEPPER to one lucky winner. To enter, leave a comment.  

In ASSAULT AND PEPPER (March 2015), Pepper’s girlfriends Laurel and Kristen take her out for a night on the town to drown her sorrows---and force her to share a bit of information she’d rather keep to herself. The three enjoy a killer dinner at Café Frida, one of the more delicious figments of my imagination, and later settle in to the Diego Lounge for music and aight cap. This recipe doubles as both coffee and dessert.

Mexican Coffee

For each drink:

½ ounce tequila
½ ounce Kahlúa
1 cup hot, strong brewed coffee
¼ to 1/3 cup vanilla ice cream
dash of cinnamon, optional

Make the coffee. Use clear glass serving cups if you can, for presentation.

Set out the ice cream. You want it partially melted.


Combine the tequila and Kahlúa in the serving cup. Pour in the coffee, add the ice cream, and add a dash of cinnamon. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

From the cover of ASSAULT AND PEPPER:

Pepper Reece, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix…

After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars.

But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on her doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest Tory Finch, one of Pepper’s staffers, for murder.

Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!


ASSAULT AND PEPPER, March 3, 2015 (Berkley Prime Crime)

Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for Death al Dente (Berkley Prime Crime), and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books). 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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spiced Glazed Nuts and Pretzel Mix

By Leslie Budewitz

Readers often ask me why I write mysteries with food in them and I always answer honestly: I love eating. And I love spices. Writing a series set in a spice shop has given me even more reasons to play with flavors.

Some people say they don’t like “spicy” food, but they usually mean they’re put off by heat, not flavor. This recipe has a bit of both—but Pepper, my Spice Shop owner, always advises giving blends time for the edges to wear off, usually just a few hours.

Mr. Right and I made three batches of this at Christmas, mostly to share. Oh, alright, partly to share. If you’re serving these nuts at a party, as Pepper’s friend Laurel does in ASSAULT AND PEPPER, make extra and tuck them away to enjoy after your guests head home.

We ate them so fast the pictures are a tad blurry. Sorry!

Spiced Glazed Nuts and Pretzel Mix

2 cups mixed raw nuts: any combination of cashews, whole almonds, Spanish peanuts, pecan halves, or hazelnuts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, kosher salt, or other coarse salt
2 cups mini pretzel twists; if you can’t find mini twists, break up larger twists or sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the nuts in a large bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring once. Leave the oven on after you remove the nuts.




Melt the butter, either on the stove top or in the microwave, and pour into the large bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and maple syrup.

Add the toasted nuts, still warm, to the bowl and stir until coated. Mix in the salt and pretzels, and stir until the nuts and pretzels are completely coated. (Adding the salt after the nuts and sugar mixture are stirred keeps the salt from dissolving.)

Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and toast in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Remove from the oven and cool completely. The mixture can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Makes about 4 cups.

When the mixture first comes out of the oven, you may taste a sharpness and fear that you overdid the cayenne. Remember Pepper’s advice—these flavors mellow beautifully in just a few hours.

ASSAULT AND PEPPER, March 3, 2015 (Berkley Prime Crime)
available for pre-order now.

Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for Death al Dente (Berkley Prime Crime), and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books).

Connect with Leslie through her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chunky Tomato-Bell Pepper Soup with Cheese Toasts

By Leslie Budewitz

As writers of books obsessed with food, sometimes we stumble over recipes that would be perfect for a book—but we just turned it in, or it just went past edits to the “don’t even sneeze, we’re going to print” stage, and it’s too late.

Which is one reason we love sharing recipes with you on this blog.

If I had made this soup a few months ago, it would be featured in ASSAULT AND PEPPER, a book set in early fall, the time when we start thinking about soup. But hey, it’s February, and in my neck of the woods—and probably yours—that’s prime soup season. The smoked paprika gives this an unexpected woodsy flavor. Fresh basil is widely available year-round, even in my small mountain town, although I’ll confess, I made this one night with a sprinkle of dried basil on top and it still tasted marvelous.

Chunky Tomato-Bell Pepper Soup with Cheese Toasts
Adapted from Country Living Magazine

The Soup:
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste (if you have to open a can to make the recipe, go ahead and use the whole can; it will thicken the soup, but in my house, no one complains!)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 - 28 ounce can or 2 - 15 ounce cans diced or crushed tomatoes (if you find a variety with basil, even better)
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth (I use Pacific Organics, low sodium)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

 Grilled Cheese Toasts
one thick slice of fresh bread or three slices of baguette per serving; sourdough, multi-grain, or French all work beautifully
olive oil
one clove garlic
2 tablespoons grated cheese per serving; cheddar, Parmesan, or Asiago are particularly tasty



In a large Dutch oven or soup kettle, heat the butter and saute the peppers and onions 8-10 minutes or until golden and tender. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and paprika, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.



Stir in tomatoes, broth, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. 



Make the toasts: Preheat oven to broil. If your broiler has multiple settings, choose the low setting and adjust the rack accordingly. Drizzle olive oil on each slice of bread. Rub with garlic. Top with grated cheese. Broil 2-3 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly. Cut the toasts in half diagonally, or let them cool slightly and cut them into croutons.


While toasts are broiling, stir the cream and basil into the soup and season with additional salt and pepper. Serve, with the toasts or croutons. 




Makes 6 servings, more or less, because when it comes to soup, who’s counting? And it reheats nicely. I resisted the temptation to draw a smiley face on the soup, but you don't have to!


ASSAULT AND PEPPER, March 3, 2015 (Berkley Prime Crime)
available for pre-order now.

Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for Death al Dente (Berkley Prime Crime), and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books).

Connect with her on her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter, @LeslieBudewitz

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

EATING—AND COOKING—MY WAY THROUGH PIKE PLACE MARKET

By Leslie Budewitz

As a college student and later a young lawyer working in downtown Seattle, I tried to eat my way through the city’s famed Pike Place Market at least once or twice a week. I’d start at the front entrance with a slice of pizza from DeLaurenti’s walk-up window, browsing the covers of the magazines at the First & Pike Newsstand---eyes only until my hands were clean! I’d sip a sample cup of tea at Market Spice while watching the fishmongers throw salmon and amuse the crowd with their comedy routine, pick my produce and cheese for the week, and end with dessert—a hazelnut sablé from Le Panier, the French bakery, or a Nanaimo bar from a now-departed shop in the warren off Post Alley—then head back to school or my office.

So naturally, when I thought about setting a mystery series in Seattle, the Market beckoned. Despite her name, Pepper Reece never intended to run a spice shop. But when her life fell apart, she found unexpected solace—and employment—in spice. Every season, she and her staff create a few blends to show off the Market’s fresh produce. Here’s a pairing for all seasons.

Herbes de Provence
A savory touch, to transport your taste buds.

2½ tablespoons dried oregano
2½ tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried savory
2 tablespoons dried crushed lavender flowers
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried sage

Mix spices in a small bowl. Store in a jar with a tightly fitting lid. Makes just over half a cup.
As with all herb blends, experiment with your own touches. Let your taste be your guide. Other frequent additions: rosemary, sweet marjoram, or fennel seed. (Marjoram and oregano are distinct herbs but closely related and can be substituted for each other in some recipes.) Try a blend with whatever combination of the suggested herbs you have on hand. Then, next summer, grow a pot of lavender on your deck or in a sunny window!

Herbes de Provence are spectacular sprinkled on sautéed potatoes, rubbed on chicken before grilling, or best of all, in roast chicken and potatoes. Add them to a lamb or a vegetable stew—think eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini, maybe some cannellini (white beans). Use them to season homemade croutons or tomato sauce.

Wrap a teaspoon of Herbes de Provence in cheese cloth and tie with kitchen string to make an herb bouquet, also called a bouquet garni. Drop it into a small jar of olive oil for a few days to make an infusion for salads or sautées.




Potato and Broccoli Frittata

Pepper drew inspiration for this recipe from the potatoes and broccolini in the Market. A hybrid of traditional broccoli and gai lan, also called Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale, broccolini has long, slender stalks with small florets and kale-like leaves, and a peppery taste that holds up well when cooked. If you can’t find it, use traditional broccoli or broccoli raab. Traditional broccoli can be hard to find with the stalks intact, but the search is worth the effort. Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to cut out any knots and peel off the tough skin. Those stalks carry a lot of flavor and vitamins and minerals.

If you don’t have a chance to pop into the Spice Shop for Herbes de Provence, make your own with whatever you have on hand. And don’t skimp on the Parmesan! If you need to cut it because you’re watching sodium—Parmesan is naturally low in fat—reduce the amount that goes in the egg mixture. The cheese on top broils to such lovely salty, crunchy perfection—you don’t want to miss that!

For dinner, serve with a green salad and crunchy bread, and a white wine—a light non-oaky Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio, or any white with a clean, crisp touch.

8 to 10 small white potatoes (about 10 ounces total), scrubbed and quartered
1 cup vegetable broth
¼ cup olive oil
8 ounces broccolini, trimmed and chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
8 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the potatoes and broth in a large (10- to 12-inch) ovenproof skillet. On the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, turning the potatoes often, until almost all of the stock has been absorbed and the potatoes are tender.

Preheat your broiler. If yours has variable settings, use the high setting and leave the rack in the middle of the oven. If your broiler is not particularly hot, raise the rack.

Add the olive oil, broccolini, onion, and Herbes de Provence to the potatoes in the skillet. Continue cooking on the stove top on medium heat for about 2 minutes, turning frequently, until all the vegetables are coated with oil and herbs. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the skillet, cooking about 3 minutes, until the broccolini has become mostly tender.

Beat the eggs with half the Parmesan and the salt and pepper. Check the heat in your skillet; you may need to turn it way down to avoid frying the eggs in the next step. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Cover and cook on the stove top over medium-low until the eggs are lightly set, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top and place the pan under the broiler, until the top is bubbly and golden, and the eggs are just set throughout, about 5 minutes.


Let cool slightly before slicing into wedges.


Makes 8 servings. Wedges reheat beautifully for breakfast or lunch.

From the cover of ASSAULT AND PEPPER: 

Pepper Reece, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix…

After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars.

But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on her doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest Tory Finch, one of Pepper’s staffers, for murder.

Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!


ASSAULT AND PEPPER, March 3, 2015 (Berkley Prime Crime)
available for pre-order now

Leslie Budewitz is the only author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction—the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, for Death al Dente (Berkley Prime Crime), and the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction, for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books). Visit her website---and sign up for her newsletter---or join her on Facebook or Twitter, @LeslieBudewitz.