Showing posts with label Ellen Byron. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ellen Byron. Show all posts

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Welcome Ellen Byron!

A very warm welcome to Ellen Byron, author of the Cajun Country Mysteries. Her latest book A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING releases in two days! Not only is she sharing a fabulous recipe but she's giving away a copy of her book, too. Scroll down to enter.

When you’re coming up with recipes for a mystery series, some are riffs on a familiar dish, some may be treasured family recipes, and some are recipes that spring wholly from your imagination. This recipe from A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING is the last with a hint of the first and I have to say, I’m very proud of it.

The Muffaletta Sandwich originated with New Orleans’ Italian immigrants. The sandwich consists of a variety of Italian cold cuts covered with olive salad on a round loaf of Sicilian sesame bread. I’ve always loved the sandwich’s confluence of flavors. But I also love making frittata. They’re quiches without the heavy crust, and can support pretty much any add-ons. When I began creating recipes for the third book in my Cajun Country Mystery series, I decided to marry two of my favorite dishes. Behold the recipe mash-up I created. Serve the frittata with a baguette and it’s a great breakfast or brunch dish. Make the pieces larger, add a salad, and you’ve got lunch or dinner. Whatever meal you decide to go with, laissez les bon aliments rouler! Let the good food roll.


Here are the ingredients. NOTE: the dog in the background is not one of them.


1 cup diced hard salami

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 T. chopped pepperoncini salad peppers

1 (2 ¼ oz.) can sliced black olives, drained

¼ cup sliced green olives, drained

4 oz. Provolone cheese, diced

1 celery rib, finely chopped

½ red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 T. olive oil

2 T. cooking sherry

1 T. red wine vinegar

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

6 eggs

1 ½ cups egg whites

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Stir together the first twelve ingredients (everything except the eggs, salt, and pepper) in a medium-size mixing bowl. Cover and chill anywhere from one to twenty-four hours.

When ready to prepare the dish, grease a 9”x13” pan with olive oil. In a separate large or medium-size mixing bowl – it should be bigger than the first bowl - beat the eggs, egg whites, salt, and pepper. Spoon the Muffaletta mixture into the eggs and stir them together. Pour this mixture into the greased pan, making sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the eggs are firm. If they’re not firm, keep cooking until the are.

Serves 8.

To enter the giveaway of a copy of A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING, please leave a comment with your email address so we can contact you if you win! Good Luck!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Welcome our guest, Ellen Byron + Bananas Foster cake #recipe + #giveaway

Ellen's debut novel, Plantation ShuddersA Cajun Country Mystery, made the USA Today Bestsellers list and has been nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. The second book in the series, Body on the Bayou, launches September 13th. Ellen has also written for television, as well. Her credits include Wings, Still Standing, Just Shoot Me, and more. As a journalist, she has written over 200 magazine articles for national publications. Plus she writes plays!  Learn more about Ellen on her website:

Here's a taste of Body on the Bayou:

Maggie Crozat agrees to be frenemy Vanessa Fleer’s Maid of Honor, but when Vanessa tops the list of murder suspects, meeting this Bridezilla’s wedding demands takes a backseat to keeping her out of jail. 

Publishers Weekly says, “A tight plot, an appealing setting, and a smart, good-hearted protagonist with a caring, supportive family and lots of friends give this story everything cozy mystery readers could want.”



Bananas Foster is an iconic dessert served at an equally iconic New Orleans restaurant, Brennan’s. Bananas are flambéed in a sauce of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur, and then served over vanilla ice cream. Legend has it that the dish was invented at the restaurant in 1951 as a way to advertise the fact that New Orleans was a major hub for imported bananas from South America.

The dessert’s irresistible blend of bananas, sugars, spices, and liquors can be applied to a variety of dishes. Google “Bananas Foster” and you’ll get a long list that ranges from pancakes to bread pudding to ice cream. When I was creating recipes for Body on the Bayou, the second in my Cajun Country Mystery series, I knew I wanted to tap into this uniquely NOLA treat, so I came up with a recipe for Bananas Foster Coffee Cake. Laissez les bon bananas roulez!

The cake ingredients:

3 ripe bananas, sliced
6 tablespoons butter, divided (3 at a time)
2 ounces dark rum
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 ounce banana liqueur (note: if you don’t have this, use 3 oz. Rum)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups Bisquick

The streusel ingredients:

2/3 cups Bisquick
2/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter or margarine

Instructions to make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350, with rack in center level of the oven.

In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the dark brown sugar and stir to combine. Add the rum and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often to blend the ingredients and keep them from crystallizing. Add the banana chunks and cook for 2-3 more minutes, gently stirring to coat the bananas with the thickening liquid. Scrape the caramelized banana mixture into a medium heatproof bowl. Use your spatula to break up the bananas into small pieces (but don’t mash them into pulp). Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter until melted, then add the vanilla. Let the mixture cool down to warm, then quickly whisk in the eggs.

Place the 2 cups of Bisquick in another medium-sized bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the Bisquick and stir together.

Instructions to make the streusel:

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and cut in the butter. Use a pastry blender to combine ingredients until the streusel is crumbly.

To put it all together:

Put half the cake batter in a 8” by 8” buttered cake pan. Top with half the streusel. Top that with the rest of the cake batter, and cover that with the rest of the streusel.

Bake for 35-45 minutes. Try not to over-bake, or it will be dry.

Serves 6-8.

I am offering a giveaway today, a hardcover copy of BODY ON THE BAYOU plus some swag.   Leave a COMMENT and tell me if you've ever been to the bayou. Remember to add an email address (cryptic if you'd like) so I can contact you if you win!

Sign up for Ellen's Cajun Country newsletter at
Connect with Ellen on Facebook.
And on Twitter @EllenByronLA

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ellen Byron's Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding #bookgiveaway #recipe

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen welcomes Ellen Byron, whose first novel, PLANTATION SHUDDERS: A Cajun Country Mystery, will be published August 11 by Crooked Lane Books.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of PLANTATION SHUDDERS!

 One of my first jobs out of college was working as a cater-waiter for an up-and-coming Connecticut food maven named Martha Stewart. I’ll never forget the first time I met her. I took the train from Manhattan to Westport, cabbed to a house that looked straight out of the 18th century, and stepped into a living room filled with early American antiques. A woman was using a crème brulee blowtorch to assemble a three-foot-high gingerbread townhouse that sat on a table in the middle of the room. “Hi, I’m Martha,” she said without losing focus on her task. “Welcome. The kitchen’s on the left.”

Thus began a two-year relationship that earned me a few photos in a book called “Entertaining,” and wonderful memories of an extraordinary woman.

That's the young Ellen, second from the left, next to Martha. 

As I wrote my first book, Plantation Shudders: A Cajun Country Mystery, it became clear that I couldn’t set a series in an area so famous for its cuisine without including a few recipes. I decided to make up my own, which proved really hard. I was ready to give up. But then I thought, WWMD? What would Martha Do?  She’d power through until she was satisfied with the results. I watched her do it at event after event. So that’s what I did. My favorite of the three I created is Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding. It’s very boozy and very New Orleans. Thanks for inspiring me, Martha! I hope I get to share the recipe with you someday.


5-6 cups croissants, torn into pieces
½ cup unsalted, toasted, chopped pecans
3 large eggs
¾ cups sugar, white or turbinado – your choice
1 cup milk – any percentage is fine
1/3 cup Bourbon, plus 1 teaspoon 
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dry bread uncovered at room temperature for 12 hours.  (You can also dry the bread in a 250 degree oven for one hour.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter an 8” x 8” baking dish

Arrange the bread in the dish. Sprinkle the pecans over the bread, making sure they’re evenly dispersed.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, 1/3 cup bourbon, cream, vanilla, and salt. 

Pour it slowly and evenly over the bread. 

Cream the butter with the brown sugar and teaspoon of bourbon, then dot the pudding with the mixture.

(Note: you can chill the pudding, covered, for anywhere from an hour to a day before baking, but this is optional.)

Bake the pudding in the middle of the oven until it’s slightly puffed and golden, and the middle has set – approximately 40 minutes.

You can top with a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or hard sauce, but I like it straight up!

Serves 6.

Leave a comment below by midnight, Mon, Aug 10, for a chance to win Ellen's PLANTATION SHUDDERS prize package, including a signed copy of the book, an alligator cookie cutter, and beads for your next Mardi Gras party! 

For more about Ellen and PLANTATION SHUDDERS, visit her website -- -- and sign up for her newsletter!