Showing posts with label Celebration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celebration. Show all posts

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Celebration Raspberry Angel Food Cake @LucyBurdette #recipe #giveaway

LUCY BURDETTE: What do you do if two of your old standby cookbooks give different instructions for the same recipe? I wondered this when I decided to bake a celebratory angel food cake in anticipation of the July 7 release of FATAL RESERVATIONS. 

These cakes bring back good memories for me, as my mother made one to celebrate my birthday for many years. (Covered in colored whipped cream, minus the raspberries.)

This recipe is mostly taken from the Silver Palate's The New Basics cookbook, with an assist from the Joy of Cooking. When the two disagreed, I admit I went with what seemed easiest:).



11 large egg whites
1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 cup fresh raspberries


Separate the egg whites into a clean bowl. Add the cream of tartar and the salt, and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. 

Egg whites are like black cats, hard to get a good picture!
After sifting the sugar once, begin to beat it into the egg white mixture about 1/4 cup at a time. The egg whites should look glossy and make soft peaks when beaters are removed, without appearing stiff. 

Sift the cake flour over the top of the bowl. Then place the raspberries on top of the flour. Fold in gently without stirring or beating. Egg whites can turn out like expectations if you add too much weight--occasionally deflated! 

Spoon the mixture into a clean angel food cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Check with a toothpick to be sure the batter is done.

Rube Goldberg was here...
Cool the cake for one and a half hours. My mother used to invert these cakes onto a bottle, which seemed precarious to me. So I tried the Joy of Cooking method, inverting onto four glasses. 

Panic! Panic! The cake began to fall out of the pan, so we managed to slide a fifth glass under the pan's stem.  (I couldn't take a photo of that, because two of us were too busy trying to save it, but you can see the bulge that resulted here:).


In spite of all that excitement, the cake turned out light and lovely enough to stand on its own, but we served it with a dollop of mango purée and mango and raspberry sorbet. 

Because like a lot of things in life, a new book is worth celebrating! 

Let's continue our excitement with a giveaway of FATAL RESERVATIONS, which is coming to bookstores everywhere on July 7. Leave a comment describing a cooking disaster and your email, and you'll be entered in the drawing. And don't forget to preorder!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

We're celebrating FIVE delicious years by sharing coconut cream cupcakes

It's hard to believe that Mystery Lovers Kitchen has been combining mystery, great tasting recipes and friendship for five years. That's really worth a party.  As Victoria Abbott, we haven't been part of it since the beginning, (although MJ joined a bit earlier) but we've enjoyed every minute since we've been in the gang. It's brought Mystery Lovers Kitchen into our family celebrations (gotta have those guinea pigs!) and our parties with friends. And it's connected us with you readers - that's really worth a party! 

To celebrate Mystery Lovers Kitchen is throwing TWO contests. 

We're giving away a book every day until July 25th.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here and tell us how you shared the news of our contests or anniversary. Tell your friends!  Post on Facebook! Tweet, my darlings! 

Be sure to leave a comment every day, because there will be a new drawing every day by midnight.  Don't forget to include your email addy so we can let you know if you won. 

Today we're giving away your choice of The Christie Curse or The Sayers Swindle. If you already own them both, we have more options in our apron pocket!

Our second contest is a photo contest!  You can find our photo contest here and at our Facebook page! Five lucky winners will receive a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote bag and seven paperback mysteries! Since we can't all get away on vacation, we hope our books are having fun this summer. Take a picture of one of our books having fun! You can enter up to five times, once in each of these categories:

1) One of our books with a cat
2) One of our books with a dog
3) One of our books having summer fun
4) One of our books in a library
5) One of our books in a bookstore.

Celebration Coconut Cream Cupcakes

A recipe from the celebration files of Mary Jane Maffini and Victoria Abbott.

Another thing worth celebrating is that these little cupcakes are not too carb or calorie heavy.  But they are really yummy.  They’ve been tested on the world’s toughest food critic, the son-in-law, who hates cream cheese in anything and won’t eat yogurt.  So for our recent Canada Day family BBQ we made these for dessert.  Guess who couldn’t resist them?  Just sayin’.   

The secret is cottage cheese (who knew?) and the original recipe came from a booklet of Canadian cheese recipes.  We’re betting it will work with your cottage cheese too.  You could use mascarpone, ricotta or cream cheese, but we like it this way. Lower in calories and less expensive too!
We doubled the recipe and we’re glad we did.  

For a SINGLE batch, you will need these ingredients:

To make crumb crust
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

For filling:
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened coconut (add a tablespoon for garnish)
1 ½ cups cottage cheese
1 egg at room temperature
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For topping:
½ cup vanilla Greek-style yogurt
Few strands of reserved toasted coconut

Here are the steps! 
Preheat your oven to 375.
Line muffin tins with paper baking cups
Mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1 tbsp sugar. Press into baking cups.  We made this recipe twice. The first time with the dozen baking cups and the second time using only ten.  We got a higher cupcake that way and it worked out better. You can suit yourself here.

Bake for 5 minutes.

At the SAME TIME, spread out coconut on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown. Watch as it can get too dark very quickly. 
Cool liners and coconut. 

 Then: using a blender or food processor, purée the cottage cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar, flour, vanilla, lemon juice, and coconut (keep about two tablespoons for garnish).   This will keep in the fridge for a few days if you like to get ahead of things. 

Pour into the  cooled liners.  Bake for 16 – 18 minutes.   Again, you have to keep an eye on them!
Cool and remove the cupcakes. Chill for about an hour (longer is great). 

Top with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt and sprinkle with toasted coconut.  You could substitute yogurt with sweetener if you wanted to control the calorie count. We found that the Greek yogurt was firmer and held that ‘icing’ shape better. The recipe as is  comes in at about 150 calories per cupcake and should be less than 20 g. carbs.  If you can eat just one.

The cupcakes keep in the fridge for a day or so, but tend to call your name in the night, so be warned. 

 Thanks for joining in our Mystery Lovers Kitchen 5th anniversary celebration.  

We’re also celebrating that The Wolfe Widow will be out in less than two months.  You can get a jump on your reading, by pre-ordering.  ORDER IT HERE

Friday, July 18, 2014

Celebration Cheesecake!

by Sheila Connolly

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! And clearly we here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen think cooking and sharing the results are fun, because we’ve been doing it for five years now.

To celebrate this milestone, this week and next we’re holding a contest: you can win one of five great MLK tote bags filled with copies of each of our books. All you need to do is to take a picture of one of our books in a fun setting—and there are five categories to choose from, and you can enter one photo in each! To enter, click HERE or go to our FaceBook page

But wait! There’s more! All this week each of us will be giving away one of our own books, and next week we’ll be giving away books from our blog alumnae. Just leave a comment on our post and tell us how you shared our contest or our anniversary news. You can enter each day, for each new post—that’s a total of twelve chances to win! Don’t forget to include your email address in your comment so we can find you.

I’m happy to offer a signed copy of the NYT bestselling Golden Malicious, the most recent Orchard Mystery (which just happens to take place during a hot summer).  Better read it soon: the next one in the series, Picked to Die, comes out this October! (If you already have this one, you can choose something else.)

So, readers, please spread the word about our MLK celebration, enter our contests, and continue to visit the blog and comment on our recipes.

Oh, right: I’m supposed to give you a new recipe today!

As you may have noticed this week, “celebrate” usually means dessert to us—and what a wonderful range we’ve found! Something for everyone—either seasonal fruit or chocolate. Or both, as in this recipe, which I shamelessly borrowed from a long-time friend (who also likes desserts!).

Raspberry Cheesecake


1-1/2 cups finely crushed Oreos
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan.

Mix the two ingredients and press into the bottom of the pan.

Bake for seven minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees.

Berry filling and topping:

1-1/4 cup sugar
3 Tblsp cornstarch
1-1/2 cups ripe raspberries (you may use frozen, 
   and you may combine berries or add cranberries)
¾ cup cran-raspberry juice

In a saucepan, mix the sugar and the cornstarch. Add the berries and juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. Put through a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve or colander to remove any skins and seeds.

Cheesecake filling:

4 8-oz. packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar (taste your berry mixture first—you can
   cut down the sugar if the berries are sweet)
4 eggs
½ cup heavy cream

Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just blended. Stir in the heavy cream.

Pour half of the filling mixture on top of the baked crust. Carefully spoon half of the sauce over the filling. CAREFULLY spoon the rest of the filling over the fruit mixture in the pan (oh, all right, if it gets mixed up, it’ll still taste good!).  Set aside the rest of the berry mixture.

Place a shallow pan half full of hot water on the lower oven rack (this is to humidify your oven). Put the cheesecake pan on a rack above this.

Bake for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, until the edge of the cheesecake is set at least two inches from the edge of the pan. The center should still be jiggly.

Run a small metal spatula around the top edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake and put it back in the oven. Turn the oven off and open the oven door a few inches. Let the cheesecake cool gradually in the oven, about half an hour (this should keep it from cracking).

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack for another 30 minutes. Then place the cheesecake in the fridge and cool for at least six hours before serving (overnight is fine).

When you’re ready to serve, remove the outer ring of the spring-form pan, place the cheesecake on a serving plate, and spoon the remaining berry mixture over the top.

This week we’re also touching base with our alumnae, to see how they’ve kept busy since they “graduated”. Jennifer Stanley has more mystery series to her credit than I can count on one hand: the Hope Street Church Mysteries (under her own name), The Collectibles Mysteries (as J. B. Stanley), the Supper Club Mysteries (also as J. B. Stanley); and as Ellery Adams, the Books by the Bay Mysteries, the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries, and the new Book Retreat Mysteries—the first book, Murder in the Mystery Suite, is coming out next month!

Here’s what Jennifer Stanley says about it:
“Murder in the Mystery Suite is set at a resort for book lovers and will feature daily afternoon teas in the Agatha Christie Tea Room, decadent meals in the Madame Bovary Dining Room, and sandwiches in the Kipling Cafe. As usual, I'll be doing my best to come up with tempting food descriptions (as well as a few dead bodies).”

Jenn would be happy if you contacted her at to
get her thoughts on MLK and tell her about your favorite recipe. Here’s hers:

“My favorite recipe is probably my charmed pecan chocolate bourbon pie because it's so easy to make and the recipe produces two pies, so there's one for you and one for a friend. The recipe reminds me of MLK because it's basically a group of friends sharing recipes with other friends.”

Please come celebrate with us and enter our contests! You can see the entries HERE at the bottom of the page. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Celebrate! Elegant Date #Cake with Sticky Toffee Sauce #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: My turn to dance around shouting "celebrate! celebrate!" (I'm the one waving purple orchids...) I have to pack in a lot today: a recipe, an update on our wonderful friend and writer Jenn McKinlay, and an explanation of the double contest. So don't quit reading early!

I was a later addition to Mystery Lovers Kitchen, appearing first as a guest in 2011 with one of my favorite summer dishes, the leaning tower of eggplant. I was thrilled to be invited as a full-timer. It's a lot of work, of course, but I love this community so much. And I've become a more inventive, accomplished cook, besides writing all the foodie mysteries.

And now for the cake...I tasted this cake during our trip to Japan and have been meaning to make it ever since. I did see an Ina Garton recipe that I think called for three sticks of butter--but I wanted us to be able to move on the dance floor, so here's my pared-down, elegant and luscious version of date cake. But whatever you do, don't skip the caramel sauce!


3/4 cups pitted, quartered dates
3/4 cups water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt


For Sticky Toffee Sauce:
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, place the dates, water and vanilla and bring to a boil. Simmer until soft (might take 5 minutes.) Remove from the heat, add the baking soda, mix well. Let the mixture cool. Meanwhile...
Cream butter with sugars. Beat in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients, and finally the cooled date mixture. (Do not worry about leaving little chunks of dates--they will provide some nice texture.) Pour the batter into a well-buttered cake pan. (I also added a layer of parchment paper and buttered that for good measure.) Bake at 350 about 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a platter. 

For the sauce, mix brown sugar, cream, butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until thick, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add a splash of vanilla. 

Poke holes in the cake and pour the sauce overall. 

Serve warm if possible. 

Even better, serve with homemade whipped cream--this is a party after all!

And now an update from the incomparable Jenn McKinlay:

I'm still chugging along on my three series for Berkley Prime Crime -- Library Lover's, London Hat Shop, and Cupcake Bakery mysteries.  I'm finishing my other series the Good Buy Girls written under the name Josie Belle and have no idea what's next.  I like to follow the uncharted course.

WHAT A CATCH is one of my fave posts, probably, because I am hankering for some fried catfish right now:

When my next door neighbor was painting
his living room, he asked my husband if he
would babysit, or rather fish-sit, his fish of
unknown origin for him until the room was
done. That was a year and a half ago and
the fish of unknown origin is still living on top
of our piano, blowing bubbles and waving
his fins at me. Read the post here

Oh, and in a related update, we still have the neighbor's catfish.  He continues to blow bubbles and wave his fins at me.  The neighbor has moved to Pennsylvania, so I don't think I'm going to be returning Kevin (yes, we named the fish after the neighbor) any time soon.  It's okay.  I've grown quite fond of Kevin, but if you tell the Hub or hooligans I said that I will deny it.

I was such a newbie when I started writing mysteries.  I didn't belong to any groups or organizations. I'd never done the conference thing.  When Krista Davis asked me to join the blog, it was my first connection to any other mystery writers.  They were all so generous and kind with their information and encouragement and their recipes, that I really felt like we were all hanging out in a big kitchen, sharing food and snippets about our lives.  


Now for the contests! #1 Leave a comment here today telling us what you'd serve at a celebration and you'll be entered in a drawing to win the Key West mystery of your choice. Don't forget to leave your email and which book you'd like...

#2 Go to this link to enter the photo contest, which runs until July 24. Prizes are these fabulous bags and books from each of us at MLK!

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