Please give a warm welcome to debut author Bethany Blake! If you're an animal lover, then you'll be as charmed as I was by the first book in her new Kensington mystery series DEATH BY CHOCOLATE LAB.
Like her amateur sleuth, Bethany also runs a pet-sitting business. We're thrilled that she's stopped by to tell us more about her new mystery series and share a wonderful recipe for a cold winter day.
Bethany is also offering a generous giveaway package, and we congratulate her winner, Sue G.!
~ Cleo Coyle
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Daphne Templeton – heroine of my Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries – has a weakness for three things:
* Pets in need of forever homes.
* And, quite possibly, if secretly, a handsome, enigmatic detective by the name of Jonathan Black.
Daphne lives in the pet-friendly town of Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania, in the Pocono Mountains, where winter bites down hard and hangs on. People turn to soup for comfort. Therefore, today I’m making Daphne Templeton’s Coziest, Cheesiest Corn Chowder Ever.
I’ll be cooking with the help of my (paws off!) sous chef, Big Pup, who will taste test anything that drops to the floor. You can see that she’s already found something.
But getting back to the mystery – Death by Chocolate Lab – and the soup.
In the novel, Daphne – a pet sitter with a Ph.D. in philosophy – is always in the kitchen when not walking dogs or solving murders with her sidekick, an introspective basset hound named Socrates.
Daphne usually keeps it simple when it comes to cheese. She’s happy eating a mozzarella stick at Sylvan Creek’s dive-bar-on-a-pier, the Lakeside, or digging into a gooey wheel of brie with her best friend Moxie Bloom, owner of Spa & Paw Salon.
But Daphne’s having a rough week. First, her one-eared foster Chihuahua discovered a body. Then her sister Piper was accused of murder. And Daphne keeps blurting out the wrong things in Detective Black’s presence. Times like these call for serious comfort food, preferably eaten fireside under a blanket. So I’m going whip up a soup that’s best served on the coldest, snowiest day you can imagine, when the wind is whipping around your house, and you crave something warm and hearty. However, like a good mystery, this soup also has a twist that will have you looking ahead to summer. Enjoy!
Coziest, Cheesiest Corn Chowder Ever
Cozy Corn Chowder
from Bethany Blake
3 strips bacon
1/2 cup cooking sherry
1 large white potato (any variety), finely diced
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Approx. 45 oz. corn – That’s three cans. (If you’re lucky enough to be using corn you froze last summer, just estimate.)
2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 cups whole milk
24 oz. shredded cheese – (any kind of cheddar will do. And, no, that’s not a typo. You’ll want 24 ounces!)
1/4 cup BBQ sauce, homemade or the brand of your choice
Using a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the strips and set them aside for later, leaving the flavor-packed grease for the next step.
Add the diced potato to the bacon grease and give the taters a quick stir to coat. Pour in the sherry and use it to deglaze the pot, stirring the potatoes and little bits of yummy browned bacon until the potato is slightly softened, about five minutes. Add the chopped onion and red bell pepper, cooking until these soften, too, about five more minutes. Stir in the corn.
Next add the chicken stock, then stream in the milk while stirring or whisking. Bring everything to a low boil, then turn off the heat, because it’s finally time for cheese!
But first, if you have a sous chef, and said helper is looking at you with desperate eyes, consider allowing a little cheese to fall to the floor. It won’t change the soup that much, and it will make someone’s day.
When the tail wags of gratitude subside, slowly whisk the remaining cheese into the soup, being careful not to dump in too much at a time, so things don’t get clumpy. Trust me on this. When the cheese is smoothly incorporated, bring the soup back to a simmer on low heat.
The barbecue sauce, which gives the soup sweetness and tang – and calls to mind summer. I am not much for measuring, so I guesstimated a quarter cup. However, you might want to add the sauce slowly and keep tasting. A little goes a long way.
At this point, if you’re not already wearing pajamas – and you should be – get changed while the soup simmers and blends for a few more minutes. Then serve with a tiny drizzle of extra sauce, a palmful of cheese if you have any left over, and the reserved bacon, crumbled on top of everything. Crackers are optional – although I generally opt.
About the Author
Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she's not writing or riding horses, she's wrangling a menagerie of furry, finned and feathered family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, an immortal goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet-sitting business called Barkley's Premium Pet Care.
Keep in touch with Bethany!
Visit her website: bethanyblakeauthor.com
Like her on Facebook by clicking here
Follow her on Twitter by clicking here
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Bonus Giveaway from Bethany!
And, of course, you will also win
the launch book in Bethany's new mystery series!
To pre-order Bethany's book,
click on a link below...
click on a link below...
Photographs courtesy of Julia Kaszuba
Thank you so much for
joining us today, Bethany!
joining us today, Bethany!