Showing posts with label Guilty as Cinnamon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guilty as Cinnamon. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jam Pinwheels #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  At last, a recipe using puff pastry that actually uses the whole box, and doesn’t leave you with one sheet to lose in the freezer. (Those sheets do freeze nicely, but they don’t fit well in zippered bags, and they get lost behind other goodies far too easily!)

While I’m stroking some pet peeves, may I tee off for a moment on recipes that don’t give you a list of ingredients up front, but make you pick them out of the instructions? I realize magazines often do that to save space and create a cute layout, but how often do you miss an ingredient?

And let’s not even talk about recipes that say “scoop” without saying how much, or bake until golden brown, without giving you an idea how long that might take.

This recipe makes 18 pinwheels, which may tempt you to use just one sheet of puff pastry and make nine. Except that it calls for 8 ounces of cream cheese, which comes in 8 and 3 ounce packages. Sigh. So make eighteen and share. Or have a party.

Use any jam or jelly you like. I used unsweetened apricot jam from a friend’s orchard in half the pinwheels; Mr. Right was skeptical, but the cream cheese mixture was sweet enough to make it yummy. On the other half, we used local huckleberry preserves, and are still drooling. (We are huckleberry hounds.) You'll see that a few will spring apart, despite your best efforts to pinch the pastry together. Eat those first. (On close inspection of the nameless magazine where I found the original recipe, I see that a few of theirs sprung open, too. So there.)

Now that I’ve fixed the flaws in this recipe, I can tell you these pinwheels are yummy, easy, and pretty. What more can a girl ask for? (Diamonds, a convertible, a spot on the NY Times bestseller list? A personal chef? Take your pick!)

To celebrate the release on October 4 of KILLING THYME, the 3d Seattle Spice Shop Mystery, I’m giving away TWO signed copies of the 2d installment, GUILTY AS CINNAMON. Leave a comment below to enter. 





Congratulations to Peg Cochran on today's release of NO FARM, NO FOUL, first in the Farmer's Daughter series, and Cleo Coyle, on the paperback release of DEAD TO THE LAST DROP, the fifteenth Coffeehouse Mystery!   






Jam Pinwheels

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
about 6 tablespoons jam or jelly
1 egg, lightly beaten



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out the puff pastry. Cut each sheet into 9 squares, cutting down the fold lines and then across. Cut 1" slits in from each corner, leaving the center of the square intact. Place squares on baking sheets, lightly sprayed or lined with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.



Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla.


Scoop about 1 tablespoon into the center of each pastry square. Make an indent in the cream cheese, with a spoon dipped in flour. Top with 1 teaspoon jam or jelly. Fold the 4 corners into the center and tug on them slightly to pinch them together. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.





Bake 12-15 minutes, until puffy and golden brown.

Enjoy!


Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the 2d book in the Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries. TWO winners will be chosen on Thurs, Sept 8. 

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, December 15, 2015

Cheers to the holidays -- and a double #bookgiveaway


CHEERS!

My holiday gift to you: One lucky reader will win two signed copies of GUILTY AS CINNAMON---one to keep, and one to give away. Comment below for a chance to win.  

I like to joke that research for my books means eating. And that's kinda true. But when I was writing GUILTY AS CINNAMON, I knew I needed to understand more about the business of being a chef. So I devoured chef lit—memoirs and nonfiction about kitchen life. One fun discovery was BLOOD, BONES & BUTTER: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton, founder and chef of Prune in New York. I learned a lot about cooking and the business of running a restaurant, but also how freedom and weirdness are key ingredients. Chef Hamilton described a scam that worked its way into CINNAMON, after I finally figured it out!

And she made me crave the Negroni, a cocktail made with gin and Campari. Have I said, I don’t like gin? And Campari is too bitter for me. But this drink—wow.

Then we went to Seattle, for research. I-90 in central Washington was clogged with construction and we got to our hotel in the Pike-Pine corridor late, hungry, and thirsty. We walked a couple of blogs to the Odd Fellows Café in the old Odd Fellows Hall, two doors down from the great Elliott Bay Book Company, and two blocks from my alma mater, Seattle University.

Where I drank a Negroni sbaglatio, made with sparkling wine instead of gin. Wow. Plus you can drink two and still walk home.

(When we took these pictures, we hadn’t found the little tool for cutting the perfect orange peel. You don’t technically need it. But you know you want it.)

My version of the Negroni comes from Gary Regan, author of the Joy of Mixology, which Mr. Right found in said Elliott Bay Bookstore. Sandra’s spiced nuts are my variation of a recipe found in Vij’s Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala, the husband-and-wife team who run Vij’s in Vancouver, B.C. Road trip!

Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that’s as individual as the cook. GUILTY AS CINNAMON includes the Seattle Spice Shop’s version, created by Sandra, the shop's master mixologist. Make your own, or use a commercial version, as I did for this batch. My house is redolent with cloves and cardamom. And the sweetness the mango adds is a nice complement to the cayenne.

The perfect pairing for your holiday entertaining, for a party of twenty or one. Just save some for me.

The Negroni 

For each drink:

1½ ounces Campari
1½ ounces sweet vermouth
1½ ounces gin
1 orange twist (a strip of peel, about 1/2 inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long, twisted to release the oils)


Pour the liquor into an ice-filled rocks glass, and add the peel.



Best drunk outdoors on a deck overlooking a freshly mowed meadow or water. Or anywhere, actually.


For a Negroni Sbagliato, substitute champagne or sparkling wine for the gin. Drink lore says a bartender created it by grabbing the wrong bottle; sbagliato means “mistaken” in Italian. An inexpensive sparkling wine, on the dry side, like Freixenet (pronounced “fresh-eh-net”) Brut from Spain or Yellow Tail from Australia, will do nicely. Plus the wine will add a touch of international flair! No need to worry about opening the bottle. Just uncrimp the wire cage and remove it, place one hand over the cork, and turn the bottle, not the cork, until you hear that satisfying pop.

Sandra’s Spiced Nuts

1 pound raw almonds or cashews, or a mix
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt or another crystal variety
1½ teaspoons amchur, or mango powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1½ teaspoons ground cayenne


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the nuts, oil, salt, and spices.



Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and roast about 10 minutes, stirring once to cook the nuts evenly. (If the edges of the nuts start to brown, pull them out to avoid burning.) Place the baking sheet on a rack; the nuts will continue to brown slightly as they cool.


Remember what Pepper says about spice blends: They take a few hours to marry and mellow, so these are best made ahead. They’ll keep several weeks if stored in a tightly sealed container.

Makes 1 pound.

Recipes from GUILTY AS CINNAMON (Berkley Prime Crime, December 2015)

Do you have a favorite holiday libation? 

Leave a comment, with your email address, to be entered for a chance to win two signed copies of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the second installment in my Seattle Spice Shop mysteries---one for yourself and one to give a friend! Contest ends at midnight, Wednesday, December 16. 



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.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Orange Cinnamon Crème Brûlée -- and a #bookgiveaway


Today is Launch Day for GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the second in my Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries. Leave a comment below to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy.

And it’s also launch day for DEAD TO THE LAST DROP, by Cleo Coyle, the 15th Coffeehouse Mystery. Congratulations, Cleo—LOVE the title!

I’m often asked where the recipes in my books come from. Some are family favorites, some are new finds I’m eager to share, and some I create, discover, or adapt for the book. For GUILTY AS CINNAMON, I went looking for a fun dessert that would feature cinnamon, but because the book is set in April, have a light, springy feel. Now, having tested it several times—we suffer, so you don’t have to—I can assure you it’s supremely fabulous in any season.

We got started making crème brûlée years ago, when my mother noticed Mr. Right’s fondness for it on dinners out, and gave us a set of ramekins and a kitchen torch. Men and fire, right? Turns out to be exactly right for GUILTY AS CINNAMON, though I won’t tell you just why!

But I will say while Pepper and Tag don’t agree on much, they are of one mind when it comes to this recipe: the very best crème brûlée ever.

You may blanch when you see that it’s made entirely with cream. You could substitute half-and-half and still swoon with its fabulosity.

Orange Cinnamon Crème Brûlée

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup white sugar (divided use)
Zest of 1 orange, removed in wide strips with a peeler
1 cinnamon stick
6 to 8 strands of fresh thyme
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar, for topping
Strips of orange peel or thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.


 In a small saucepan, combine the cream, 1/4 cup sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon stick. Roll the thyme strands back and forth between your palms, over the pan, to release the essential oils, then toss the thyme into the pan. Whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat and strain into a bowl to cool. (This step infuses the cream with the aromatics—the zest, thyme, and cinnamon.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla. When the infused cream is cooled to the touch, slowly pour it into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. (Cooling the cream avoids curdling the eggs.)


Place four 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Carefully fill the ramekins with the custard mixture. Place the dish in the oven and carefully pour hot water into the pan, till it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake until the custard is set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center, about 35 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Lift out the ramekins—tongs work nicely—and cool on a rack at room temperature. (Don’t leave them in the hot water, as the heat would continue to cook the mixture.) When cool, move ramekins to refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before the next step.





Just before serving, sprinkle a teaspoon of turbinado sugar evenly over the top of each dish. Caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch. The sugar will harden, turn golden, and become crunchy. If you don’t have a torch, broil the dishes 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar forms a crisp, golden top.

Garnish with a curvy strip of orange peel or a sprig of thyme.

Or a Scottie dog.

Serves 4.

Leave a comment below to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON; contest ends midnight, Wednesday, December 3. Please include your email address!

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…

From the cover ...

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

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she’s sure to win over the public. Even better, she’s working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper’s potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.


Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara’s new café from opening—before someone else gets burned…


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.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates and #bookgiveaway

By Leslie Budewitz

I'm counting down to the release of GUILTY AS CINNAMON on December 1. Leave a comment below---tell me your favorite holiday appetizer---for a chance to win a signed copy!

One of the secrets of adult life is to choose friends who cook well. Our friend Zhamal is originally from Kazahkstan—she met her American husband, a long-time friend of my husband, when they worked on a Russian fishing ship. She’s a fun friend and a fun cook, and introduced us to these yummy stuffed dates. They’re perfect little flavor bombs, combining salty, sweet, and savory, and crunchy, chewy, and creamy. They’re also a perfect appetizer, and they transport easily—making them a great choice if you’re a guest contributing to the Thanksgiving feast.

We use Medjool dates because they’re large and yummy; other varieties would work, too. Don’t bother paying more for pitted dates— you need to cut them open to stuff them! And Medjool dates are fairly dry—the pits just popped out.

If you don’t have parchment paper, remove the dates immediately after baking—the sugar in the vinegar will caramelize as it cools, and the dates may stick to the tray. Use the thickest balsamic you’ve got. It won’t look like it’s staying on the dates, but it will make a nice coating anyway—and when you turn the dates, they’ll pick up a little more of the vinegar! You can drizzle with a little more vinegar on the serving plate if you’d like—test them and see if your taste buds want another hit.

We followed Zhamal’s lead and used Gorgonzola, but any blue cheese or goat cheese would provide a creamy tang that will make you a popular guest.

Leftovers will keep a couple of days—but I doubt you’ll have any. Especially if you make them for Thanksgiving. Me, I'm looking forward to seeing my blog sisters' menu suggestions---because we're going to Zhamal's house!

Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates

1/2 pound Medjool dates (18-20)
½ cup blue cheese
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


Pit the dates by making a slit along one side and popping out the pit.


Stuff the opening with cheese.


Cut prosciutto into 2 inch-wide ribbons, about 4 inches long. Wrap each stuffed date with prosciutto. Place wrapped dates on the baking sheet. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


Bake 7-10 minutes, then turn dates and bake for another 7-10 minutes, until the prosciutto is slightly crisp.


Remove from oven and place dates on a serving dish immediately.

Serves 6 as an appetizer—plan on three dates a person.

Leave a comment below by midnight, Wednesday, November 18---tell me your favorite holiday appetizer---for a chance to win a signed copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the second Spice Shop Mystery out December 1. 

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…

From the cover ...

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

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she’s sure to win over the public. Even better, she’s working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper’s potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.

Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara’s new café from opening—before someone else gets burned…


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.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Gingered Pumpkin Apple Soup and Sauteed Kale #bookgiveaway

by Leslie Budewitz

You just get certain urges for certain foods at certain times of year, right? They vary, based on where you live, the weather, what feels like comfort food to you, and your own taste, but there are some predictable tastes. A few weeks ago, I asked fans on my Facebook Author page what they liked most about fall. Sweaters, football, new books by favorite authors all got votes, but the most popular responses? Soup, and pumpkin-flavored food and drink.

And so, today's recipe combines them both.

A note on ingredients: We rarely manage to make our own vegetable stock; we use Pacific Organics low sodium stocks, which are tasty and affordable, and come in resealable containers. I admit, my fresh ginger frequently comes out of a jar; yours can, too. (Find it in the produce section.) Curry and garam masala are spice blends, as varied as the individual making them; we make our own—GUILTY AS CINNAMON (out December 1; available for pre-order now) includes recipes for both, but you can buy both blends in many groceries, as well as spice shops and Indian groceries. Don’t worry if you associate curry with heat; just look for a milder blend—and the other ingredients in this soup will mellow out the heat.

Plus, cinnamon. In GUILTY AS CINNAMON, Pepper Reece, the owner of Seattle Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market, and Sandra, her assistant manager, have been running a taste test, sampling all the cinnamon rolls available in the Market. They’re offering customers samples of cinnamon, and setting up a display with favorite mysteries with cinnamon in the title: Cinnamon Skin by John D. MacDonald, Cinnamon Kiss by Walter Mosley, and of course, The Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke. Here's the exchange:

“Cinnamon?" a woman said, reaching for a jar of our custom blend. "I always think of that as a fall spice."

"It's a spice for all seasons. You can make do without Celtic salt and smoked salt, three kinds of paprika, and all those exotic chile peppers. But you cannot make decent toast without cinnamon."

And for some reason, I’ve also been craving kale. So we put them together, for your comfort and nourishment! Add a loaf of crunchy bread and voila! Instant comfort and warmth.

(My friend Lita tried this recipe, too, and her pictures turned out better than mine, so I used hers. Thanks, Lita!)

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed ARC (Advance Review Copy) of GUILTY AS CINNAMON and a gingerbread man tea infuser. Always in season!

Gingered Pumpkin Apple Soup 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 medium celery stalks, chopped
2-3 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 can (15-16 ounces) unsweetened pumpkin or butternut squash
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder or garam masala
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups milk (soy milk is a good substitute)
salt to taste
toasted pumpkin seeds, plain or seasoned, for garnish (optional)



Heat the olive oil in a soup kettle. Add the onion and celery, and saute over low-medium heat until the onion starts to turn golden.


Add the apples, stock, pumpkin, ginger, curry or garam masala, cinnamon, and nutmeg.




Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes. Stir carefully, as the mixture can pop and will be very hot.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in the milk and heat thoroughly. If you’d like a thicker soup, simmer a little longer uncovered.


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and bake 6-8 minutes, until they start to pop. (You can toss them in seasoned salt or with other spices, such as a curry or cinnamon-chile mix before toasting, if you'd like.)

When soup has simmered, add salt to taste. Garnish the serving bowls with toasted seeds.


Serves 6-8. This soup improves in flavor as it sits, so you can make it ahead and reheat before serving.

Sauteed Kale

1 bunch leafy green kale (about half a pound), including stems; trim the ends
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
dash of red wine vinegar

Rinse and coarsely chop the kale.


  Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Toss in the kale and stir over medium heat, about 3 minutes.


Toss in the sea salt and pepper flakes, and add a dash of red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan. Stir quickly and serve.





Okay, so that's the kale with mac and cheese, not soup. Darned if I know where that other photo went! But the kale is equally yummy -- and I'll give you that recipe another time!

Serves 3-4.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed ARC (Advance Review Copy) of GUILTY AS CINNAMON and a gingerbread man tea infuser. Contest ends midnight, Wednesday, November 4.

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…

From the cover ...

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

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she’s sure to win over the public. Even better, she’s working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper’s potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.

Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara’s new café from opening—before someone else gets burned…



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. 

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.