Showing posts with label Eggsecutive Orders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eggsecutive Orders. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

EGG WEEK!! and Spot the Book Contest Winner

Congratulations once again to Janel G., who won a Junior's Cheesecake for providing this week's Secret Ingredient for Mystery Lovers' Kitchen's version of Iron Chef!

Janel suggested EGGS!

You can imagine how eggcited I was to hear what our secret ingredient was this time! Thrilled is more the word! With Eggsecutive Orders hitting the bookstore shelves just one
week ago, the timing couldn't be better.

It's my turn t to start this Iron Chef week and I'll get to my Egg Recipe in a minute. But I just wanted to also add that today I'm announcing the winner in the Eggsecutive Orders Spot the Book contest. That will appear at the end of this post because I'm writing this ahead of time and I haven't pulled a name just yet ;-)

In the meantime, don't forget to continue sending us your suggestions for our next Secret Ingredient! You could win Fannie May Chocolate! Fannie May is - unequivocally - the best chocolate I've ever tasted. I'm partial to the dark chocolate covered almonds, but if you win, you'll get to choose!

Now... Are you ready for EGG WEEK?? I guarantee this will be an eggstraordinary event!

AIOLI (Garlic Mayonnaise)

3 egg yolks

4 cloves garlic, mashed, peeled, and very finely minced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¾ cup olive oil (not extra virgin)

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

½ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

1 lemon, halved, seeded, and juiced

¼ teaspoon white pepper (You can use black pepper if you don’t have this, but you’ll

see the flecks of it in the finished product. It gives it a rustic look, which isn’t all bad.)

1 teaspoon white vinegar

This is a blender recipe, to take all the stress out of getting it to emulsify. Place the egg yolks, garlic, and the mustard in the container of a blender. Cover and pulse to blend completely, about 1 minute. Remove the center of the lid, and begin to pour the olive oil into the container in a thin stream, still running on slow. When the mixture comes together and looks like mayonnaise (usually about when half the oil is incorporated), stop pouring oil and add in the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Blend. Add in another thin stream of olive oil while blending. Stop when about 2 tablespoons of oil are left to add. Add a splash of lemon juice. Blend. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add the rest of the oil if needed. The sauce should be thick, creamy, and rich, with a lovely tang of garlic.

My two cents: This recipe appears in Eggsecutive Orders. In the book it says "juice of one lemon" in the ingredients, and calls for a "splash" as noted above. I tried it both ways and prefer the "splash." Juice of an entire lemon makes the mixture a bit too watery, and a bit too lemony. But your mileage may vary.

Stay tuned all week for lots of interesting uses for eggs!!

And don't forget to keep sending in your suggestions for our Secret Ingredient. We will be announcing the name of our next winner soon.

Speaking of winners... Many, many readers wrote in to tell me that they'd spotted Eggsecutive Orders at local bookstores. Most readers also mentioned that they picked up a copy while they were there. First - Thank you!!

Second - I wish there could be a hundred winners, but the name I pulled from all entries is...


Yvonne B. from San Antonio

has won a $25 gift certificate to The Mystery Company Bookstore. I'll be in touch, but if you don't hear from me, be sure to email at JulieHyzy(at)gmail(dot)com so that we can arrange for you to choose your books. I've worked this out with The Mystery Company before (they don't charge shipping) and it's very smooth.

Congrats to Yvonne!!

Enjoy Egg Week!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brownie Bites and Contest Update

"Eggstra" Contest update...

I've received quite a few emails from readers who have spotted Eggsecutive Orders at bookstores. These, of course, are the early appearances.

Today is the book's official release date (woo-hoo!!) and your last week to enter the "Spot the Book" contest! I'm hoping to hear that it's everywhere -- please let me know! If you email me with where and when you spotted the book, you could be entered to win a $25 bookstore gift certificate. Details on this contest (and more about our Secret Ingredient contest) by clicking here.

And, while you're reading Eggsecutive Orders (how's that for a segue? Almost as good as Avery's yesterday) you may want to have a sweet snack.

Today's recipe is Brownie Bites featured in the second White House Chef mystery - Hail to the Chef.

Here's one issue I have with that recipe - in the book, it appears on pages 323 and 324. I don't like having the ingredient list split up like that. I much prefer having a recipe per page. Hoping to ensure that going forward...

These are *delicious* and very easy to make. One of my readers and friends (Hi, Cathy!!) told me she served them at her book discussion group with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center. Chocolate or fudge drizzled on top and you have a dessert fit for fancy!

I made these twice over the holidays - once for Christmas, once for New Year's. I didn't serve them with ice cream, but used Hershey Hugs to top them. I also tried crushed peppermint sticks on top - these originally looked fabulous, but I probably should have waited until the bites were completely cooled. The peppermint pieces melted, just a little bit. Not so fabulous looking. Word to the wise - wait ;-)

Brownie Bites
(all on one page!)

3/4 cup good quality cocoa (I used Hershey's)
3/4 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa
1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk (don't add all at once)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the cocoa, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl stir until the cocoa is fully incorporated, and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Add dry ingredients all at once and gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together. Stir only until the ingredients are mixed. Too much stirring makes the brownies tough.

Place foil (paper cups will shred, so using foil is important) baking cups into 2 12 cup muffin tins. Spray with cooking spray or grease with shortening. Fill the cups 2/3 full with the brownie mixture.

Place in oven and bake until the mixture is just set and lovely cracks appear on the surface of the brownie bites—about 15-20 minutes. Remove cups from tins and let brownie bites cool.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the cocoa, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla, and blend until the mixture is fully mixed. Add the milk, a tablespoonful at a time, and continue beating the frosting. When the frosting looks glossy and forms soft peaks, it’s ready to use.

Frost the brownies in their foil cups.

Garnish with pecan halves, or the garnish of your choice.

(Other options for garnishes include everything from mini-chocolate chips to a sprinkle of coconut to a fan of candy corn –cute in the fall—to white chocolate curls to chocolate covered coffee beans to peanut butter cups to peppermint patties to other chocolates. Tailor your garnish to your anticipated diners. If you’re feeding mostly adults, go for sophistication. If you’re feeding lots of kids, raid the candy store. The pecan halves are a compromise—both adults and kids like them, and the people who don’t like nuts can easily remove them. But the sky’s the limit as far as garnishing these goes.)

I love these... so pretty, so delicious.

Hope you enjoy!


Hey, by the way, did anyone watch IRON CHEF on Sunday? Was that fun, or what? To me it felt like I was watching my character, Ollie, up there competing with all the "big names" in the culinary world. First female White House Executive Chef. You go, Cristeta!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eggstra Contest!

Instead of a recipe today, I'm announcing Two Contests! Not only do we have our Secret Ingredient contest still running (see below), but I am pleased to announce a brand new one as well.

Next Tuesday, January 5th, my third White House Chef mystery - Eggsecutive Orders will be released. As this story opens, Ollie and her team are banished from the White House after a guest dies at dinner with the president.

Did I mention that this happens a mere week before the annual Egg Roll? And that Ollie's mom and grandmother are about to arrive for a visit? Ollie had been looking forward to showing her family the White House and to taking them on a private tour. But now her plans, her career, and her relationship with Tom are all in hot water.

So do you think that makes this cozy "hard-boiled"? ;-)
Sorry, sorry, can't help myself....

But all this brings me to news of a special and eggciting contest.

Starting today, right now
"Spot the Book"

Rules are simple... just spot Eggsecutive Orders at your local bookstore and let me know what date and where, and you are entered.

Booksellers often put new titles out the week before their official release (unless it's Harry Potter, of course), but I'll be running this contest for 2 weeks through January 11th. On January 12th, I'll announce the name of one lucky spotter who will win a $25 bookstore gift certificate.

So, if you're shopping, take a moment to check out your local indie bookstore, or your nearest chain. One entry per location per person. So, that means if you spot Eggsecutive Orders at three different bookstores, you can enter three times. (If you also tell me how many copies are in stock, I'll put your name in for an extra chance!) Send your updates to me at

Yes, this is a new e-mail address. Had a little problem with a hacker... long story.

And because I don't want anyone to be left out, you can also enter by finding Eggsecutive Orders available on Internet sites. In that case, just forward the link to me.

Doesn't that sound easy? It is.

Knowing when the books hit the shelves (and where) will help me a lot.

Just e-mail me with bookstore and date (and number of copies, if you like) and I'll announce the winner on January 12th. Got all that?

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me ;-)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Secret Ingredient contest....

We will be having another Iron Chef-like event here in a few weeks, and Janel won a Junior's Cheesecake for her secret ingredient (which will be announced soon)!

But while we Mystery Lovers' Kitchen chefs are dreaming up ideas for Janel's ingredient, we're eager for more. Keep sending your ideas and you could win.... CHOCOLATE.


Some of the best chocolate on the planet is produced by Fannie May Candies. The NEXT secret ingredient winner will have his or her choice of several Fannie May assortments up to a value of $25 (plus I'll pay shipping). I'll be in touch once a winner is announced. Check out the Fannie May website for an idea of what you could win!

Well, I've probably over-talked here today ... I promise a really cool recipe next Tuesday ... a dessert I served on Christmas Eve that was a huge hit.

Hope you participate in Spot the Book and let me know where the EGGS are hiding ;-)

Can you tell I'm eggstatic about this new release?

Have a great week!

Author of the White House Chef Mysteries.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cranberry Cheesecake

Welcome once again to Cranberry Week! I had a lot of fun coming up with a cranberry recipe for this week's challenge.

Cranberries are absolutely delicious and so good for you. That's why I enjoy having a Cosmo when I'm celebrating. A martini that's good for you! How perfect is that? I almost shared a Cosmo recipe here, but really -- you can find them all over the Internet. I wanted to come up with something special.

I started hunting down cranberry recipes when we here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen first learned the secret ingredient. Nothing caught my fancy, but as I was searching (and talking aloud), my daughter overheard me. "How about a cranberry cheesecake?"

Well, how about it?

With my mom's trusty (and easy), guaranteed-to-get-raves cheesecake recipe in hand I set out to cranberry it up. And I think I succeeded. Next time (and there *will* be a next time because we really enjoyed this, despite the "oops" moments I'll share below), I'll go a little heavier on the cranberries, and add them first, before pouring the cream cheese mixture into the graham cracker crust.

First, The Crust:
15 graham cracker sheets crushed into crumbs (or buy the crumbs already smashed)
(you know how there are 4 perforated crackers per sheet? Fifteen of those sheets) My mom always used cinnamon grahams but I thought for the cranberry version, I'd go plain. This was a good choice
1 cup of melted butter
2 T sugar
Mix all ingredients in a Ziploc bag until the crumbs are fully moistened and the mixture sticks together. Press mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan.

The Main Cheesecake
2 - 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 t vanilla

Beat well.

Pour into graham cracker crust in 9 x 13 pan. Now, you may have noted (observantly) that the photo here is *not* of a 9 x 13 pan. This is a small springform pan. This is my first "oops" but it was done on purpose. Because I was afraid the cranberry version might not turn out, I used only half of it here. I used the other half for another experiment ... grin....

1/2 cup of fresh (cooked) cranberries or 1/2 can of whole cranberry sauce, dropping by spoonfuls. When you've added it all, take a knife and twist through the sauce around so it makes a swirl effect.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until center is baked.

Second oops.... This round pan required a longer baking time. I think I added about another 10 minutes.

But we're still doing okay...

The Topping
1 pt sour cream
2 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla
Mix well by hand.

When the cheesecake is done baking, let it cool for about 10 - 15 minutes on your stovetop. At this point, add the topping, and return the cheesecake to the 375 degree oven for about 5 - 7 minutes, until the edges of the topping start to bubble.

My next oops... I didn't spread the topping to the edge, but again, this was on purpose. I was afraid that it wouldn't pull away properly from the springform pan. If you do this the right way (with a 9 x 13) go all the way to the edges with the topping.

My final oops was to cut myself a slice before the cake had completely cooled. Notice how it's just a little bit soft...

Oh well, too bad! I couldn't wait.

This is a pretty excellent recipe if I do say so myself. "Oops" and all!

I'm having a blast with these "secret ingredient" weeks. I hope you are, too!


The third White House Chef Mystery, Eggsecutive Orders is coming January 5th! Please visit my website or personal blog: Julie Hyzy's Blog to learn more about it!