Showing posts with label Food Lovers' Village Mysteries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food Lovers' Village Mysteries. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fresca's Tortellini Salad, from Treble at the Jam Fest

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: This pasta salad is one of the first dishes I deconstructed and made on my own, based on a salad from a long-gone deli called Pasta & Company. It had several locations in Seattle, including one on the 4th Avenue side of the building often called “the box the Space Needle came in,” where my law firm had offices. (It’s actual name was the Seattle First National Bank Building, and it was too short for the Needle, but I suspect Sea-First financed the construction, and the name stuck.)

I felt like such a city girl eating there, especially if my suit allowed me to sit on a stool in the window and watch the people!

I’ve given that space to Laurel, who runs the deli and catering company Ripe in my Seattle Spice Shop books, but I kept the recipe for Erin and Fresca in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries. Fresca makes piles of it to sell at the Merc, and in TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, they take it on a picnic for the outdoor concert at the annual Jewel Bay Jazz Festival.

Imagine my surprise when I bought a different brand of tortellini recently and found a very similar salad on the package!

And even though it’s a summer favorite at our house, I also like to make a batch during Christmas week when it’s great to have something easy and different to pull out of the fridge—and because the colors make me happy.

I hope this salad makes you happy, too.

Tortellini Salad

2- 8 ounce boxes tortellini (tri-color is prettiest)
1 to 1-1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, lightly drained and chopped
2 cups chopped tomatoes (we like grape or cherry tomatoes, because they hold their shape and stay firm)
½ cup green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1 cup Parmesan, shredded
1 cup hard or Genoa salami, stacked and cut in strips (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil
1/4 cup olive oil OR oil from the artichoke marinade
salt and fresh ground pepper

Optional: 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (I like to mix red and green, but any color will be lovely.)



Cook pasta as directed; rinse with cold water, and drain, stirring to release steam and stop pasta cooking.



In a large bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, green onions, capers, Parmesan, salami, fresh herbs, and the bell pepper if you're using it. Add the pasta and mix. Stir in the oil and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Serves 8. Keeps well.

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Grilled Caprese Kabobs -- summer on a stick -- #bookgiveaway


LESLIE BUDEWITZ: We rarely repeat recipes here on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, but I can’t resist the temptation to share our recipe for the taste of summer, which I originally posted almost exactly two years ago. It’s one of my most popular posts.

The recipe—if you even want to call it that—became so popular in my own household that I ended up crediting it to Fresca, manager emeritus of the fictional Merc, and featuring it at a picnic in TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the fourth Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, out this week. The recipe is in the book, but there’s no reason for you to sit there hungry and drooling while you wait for your copy.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, new this week!

It’s inspired, of course, by Caprese salads, which I am convinced are the salad the angels make when God needs a snack.

It’s a kind of magical medley that screams summer. Plus, you can grow cherry or grape tomatoes and basil on your back deck. (If you’ve figured out how to grow mozzarella balls in your garden, call me!)

We recommend two kabobs per person, as an appetizer. Both cherry and grape tomatoes work great, and the more color variety, the better! We used herbed mozzarella balls packed in oil from Costco, but plain cheese packed in water works, too. On a lark, we used a blackberry Balsamic vinegar we'd been given, and thought we were in heaven.

If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them first. You can also make mini versions, grilled or not, on appetizer-size sticks.

Kids would love making and eating these. There’s pretty much no way to mess them up. Except to not make enough.

Here’s to a tasty, happy summer, with good food, good friends, and a great book! (I have suggestions...)

Grilled Caprese Kabobs

For each kabob:

3 small tomatoes
2 fresh mozzarella balls, herbed or plain
3 fresh basil leaves
olive oil, if you’re using plain cheese
salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar
a metal or bamboo skewer (if you're using bamboo, soak them first)


Heat your grill. Use a perforated grill sheet or rack, if you have one; otherwise, grill directly over the heat. (A reader told me she discovered too late that her grill was out of propane, so she broiled these in the oven, with great success!)



Thread the skewers, starting with a tomato, a basil leaf, a cheese ball, another basil leaf, and so on, until you’ve threaded three tomatoes and two cheese balls, with a leaf between each. If your basil leaves are large, fold in half. If you’re using water-packed cheese, brush with olive oil. (The sharp-eyed among you may notice that these have only two tomatoes. First draft. Three tomatoes are better.)




Lay on the grill or grill sheet and close the grill lid. Grill 2-3 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft, even a little charred, and the cheese begins to melt. Don’t let your cheese fall off! Remove from grill and place skewers on serving plate. Season with salt and pepper if you’d like and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!


Oops -- looks like I forgot to take a picture after I drizzled on the Balsamic. In too much of a hurry to eat them! I promise, you will be, too!

Got a favorite food that screams "summer!" to you?

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017). (US and Canadian addresses only. Winner will be chosen Saturday, June 10.) 

From the cover: 

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.


Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Erin's Enchiladas, from TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST - #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: I always say that one of the secrets to a happy life is friends who cook well.

And nothing proves that better than my longggg friendship with Lita, whom I met during sophomore year of college. She married a man with a Hispanic mother and embraced Mexican cooking with both very strong arms. This is Lita’s recipe, which I think she based on one from America’s Test Kitchen. Admittedly, it’s a bit, oh, involved is the best word, and in TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Erin admits that she occasionally grabs a jar of sauce from the Merc’s shelves when she craves enchiladas. Granted, she and the Merc are fictional—don’t tell her I said so—so this is the recipe in those jars.

TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, the 4th Food Lovers' Village Mystery, will be out officially on June 8. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy!

Fill the enchiladas with chicken, shredded beef, or black beans---or a combination, as described below.

This sauce freezes beautifully, and can be used in burritos, tamales, tortilla soup, or other recipes. Double it some Sunday afternoon and stick a pan of unbaked enchiladas in the freezer for a night when even reaching for a jar seems like too much.

A NOTE ABOUT CHILES: After I posted this, a few comments asked about the California and Guajillo chiles in the sauce. Both are mild, red chiles. California chiles start out green and turn red as they ripen; they are apparently sometimes called chile seco del Norte or Magdalena chiles. Guajillo chiles are the dried mirasol chile. This guide has more details and pictures, as does this site. I've noticed that naming varies and is not necessarily consistent. If you can't find dried chiles with these names, look for a red chile with a mild flavor and try combining a couple; if you like more heat, you'll have more options. Remember that cooking is an art, not a precise science, and be willing to play -- if you're not sure whether a pepper will be too hot, try a small amount, and add more later if you'd like.

Enchilada Sauce

2 ounces dried Ancho chiles
2 ounces dried Guajillo chiles
2-3 ounces dried California chiles
½ large or 1 medium white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife blade
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
½ - 1 orange, sliced, including the peel (if the peel is thick, use half of it)
4 – 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in your hands
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
1 tablespoon masa harina (corn flour) or very finely ground corn meal
½ lime, juiced (2-3 tablespoons of juice)


Using kitchen scissors, and optional gloves, stem and seed the chiles.

Heat a large skillet on high and quickly dry roast the chiles, in batches, 1-2 minutes, to darken the skin; do not burn.

Place the peppers, onion, garlic, carrot, and orange in a large pot, and cover with the stock. Cover pot and bring to a rolling boil, then turn off the heat and let mixture sit about 30 minutes.

Ladle 2-3 cups of liquid and vegetables, about half and half, into a blender. Puree about 3 minutes and place in another pot or a non-staining bowl. Repeat with additional batches till complete.

Return sauce to pan and add the cumin, oregano, and salt. In a small bowl, make a slurry of the corn flour and about 1/4 cup of the chile puree, to prevent clumping, then add to pot and stir in. Add lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and tasting to adjust the seasoning.

The Enchiladas

8 - 8 inch corn tortillas
oil
sauce
1 pound beef (stew meat), slow cooked until it can be shredded with a fork, OR 1 pound chicken breast, cooked and shredded, OR 1 pound black beans, cooked (or a 16 ounce can)
2 ounces diced green chiles, fresh or canned
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
10-12 green onions, chopped
½ cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
sour cream (optional)
fresh tomatoes, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly oil the tortillas on each side and warm them in the oven to prevent cracking—you can warm them while the oven is preheating.

Mix your beef, chicken, or beans with the green chiles, and if you’d like, a few green onions and cilantro.

Pour ½ cup (about a ladleful) of sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Place a warmed tortilla on a plate. In the center, place about 1/4 cup filling and a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up tightly and place in the baking dish.

Ladle more sauce over the top of the tortillas and sprinkle with cheddar. Bake about 15 minutes, until cheese melts. Serve with chopped onions and cilantro, and optional sour cream and tomatoes.

Unbaked enchiladas freeze beautifully, in the pan. To serve, thaw and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until thoroughly heated and the cheese is melted.

Makes 8 enchiladas.



















Does your BFF have a favorite recipe you adore???

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017). (US and Canadian addresses only; winner will be chosen Thurs, June 1.)


From the cover:   

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Erin’s Two Bean and Pesto Salad


LESLIE BUDEWITZ: This recipe appeared in CRIME RIB, the second Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, set in high summer in the village of Jewel Bay, Montana. It’s perfect for this time of year because everything is in season, it’s easy to prepare, and only one ingredient—the green beans—require any cooking. I’ve also made it in winter—the red and green color combination makes it a holiday fave—and taken it to numerous potlucks. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit since then—as all honest cooks do.

I like wandering out to my garden and picking fresh green beans. In the off season, we use the thin French style, also called haricots vert.  Since then, I’ve migrated from steaming green beans to cooking them briefly in boiling water; steaming occasionally leaves tough skins.

Although I’ve included an easy pesto recipe, I will confess we often use jarred pesto from Costco—it’s thin and pourable, unlike Mr. Right’s heartier version.

On the onion: we prefer a small white onion; sweet, red, or even green onions also work well, but the one time I used a yellow onion, I found it too strong.

We served the salad with Mr. Right's Famous Stuffed Burgers---I'll save that recipe for another time. It's wonderful with pretty much any meat, fish, or chicken, especially grilled!

So, with no further ado —

Erin’s Two Bean and Pesto Salad

one pound of fresh green beans, stemmed and cut in bite-sized pieces
1-14 oz can white beans
about a cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
a small white onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh pesto (recipe below) or more, to taste
kosher salt and fresh ground black or white pepper







Bring 2-3 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the beans and cook until tender-crunchy, 2-3 minutes. Pour into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking; drain and cool, and place in your serving bowl.

Rinse and drain the white beans and add to your bowl, along with the tomatoes and onions. Toss with the pesto. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled, by itself or on a bed of greens.

Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 cloves garlic, to taste
½ cup olive oil, more or less, to taste
½ cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (optional)

Toast the nuts in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, or toss in a dry saute pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until they begin to darken and become fragrant. (Don’t overcook; they will continue to cook as they cool.)

In a small (2 cup) food processor, loosely chop about fresh basil leaves. Toss in the garlic—the pesto will blend more easily if you slice or chop the cloves first. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse. Add oil and pulse until you get a good consistency for mixing with other ingredients. Add grated Parmesan and nuts, and pulse to mix well.







From the cover of KILLING THYME. coming October 4 and available for pre-order now: 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. When Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But when Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?


Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, 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.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Grilled Cod with Parsley-Caper Pesto


LESLIE BUDEWITZ; I just turned in the manuscript that will become the fourth Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, to be published next spring by Midnight Ink. Part of the fun of writing “foodie fiction” is finding or creating the recipes, but not every recipe is successful, so out they go! Others are yummy, but the scene they were part of gets deleted, or as with this one, they get cut because the recipe section was getting to be longer than the mystery!

I found this Parsley-Caper Pesto in a copy of Eating Well magazine that a friend gave me, and thought it and the Roasted Tomato Pesto and Pesto Trapanese (cherry tomatoes, basil, almonds, garlic, and chiles) would be great additions to Fresca’s line of fresh sauces and pestos, sold only at the Merc in Jewel Bay. Alas, I ended up leaving it out of the book, but that’s no reason for you to suffer!


A small food processor – ours holds 2 cups – is perfect for making pesto. We served this with grilled cod, but it would be just as lovely with tilapia, halibut, or any firm white fish. Be sure to toast the nuts for extra flavor.

And congratulations to Peg Cochran on today's release of BERRY THE HATCHET, the 2d Cranberry Cove Mystery!



Grilled Cod with Parsley-Caper Pesto

2 cups fresh, flat leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see below)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor, and pulse to chop and combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the olive oil, and process until well-combined, again scraping down the sides.

Makes about 1 cup. This will keep in the fridge 3-4 days.

Grill your fish and serve with a dollop of pesto, and a wedge of fresh lemon, if you like.













From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON: 

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…




Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, 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.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.