Showing posts with label Hallie Ephron. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hallie Ephron. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lucy Burdette's Easy Roast Chicken and Vegetable Dinner #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE:  Sometimes it's fun to make fancy dishes with lots of ingredients and many steps to put them together and then a wowzer of a presentation. And sometimes life calls for something homey, but oh so easy, right? My pal Hallie Ephron convinced me some years ago that roasting your own chicken tasted way better than the grocery store version.  (She was right, though I still buy the deli chicken if time is really short...) Another bonus: you get to choose the chicken without preservatives and other unpleasant additives.

Here's a go-to meal that couldn't be easier: take one chicken, clean innards out of the cavity, plop in a roasting pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, spread it around, add freshly ground salt and pepper and a little rosemary if you have it. (You can get fancy with seasonings, but we're focusing on EASY, right?) Deliver to oven preheated to 375-400.

After half an hour, deliver a handful of small potatoes (drizzled in olive oil) to the same pan. You can add carrot chunks here too--they are so sweet when roasted. Or if you prefer sweet potatoes, put those in at the same time as the chicken. 

Meanwhile, prepare Brussels sprouts by pulling off the outside leaves, shaving the ends, and making a cross in each end with a sharp knife. Add these to the roasting pan when the chicken is half an hour away from done.

Serve and enjoy! (Just don't tell the Key West chickens about this dish--chickens are protected in this town, even the noisiest roosters.)

And here's what you might do with all the time you saved by making this dinner:

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries!
Fatal Reservations, the sixth book in the series, will be in bookstores on July 7, but you can certainly order it now!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Please Welcome Hallie Ephron!

Please welcome our guest today--Hallie Ephron!

I keep Lucy’s granola on my fridge, in pride of place next to pictures of my grandbaby, held there by my WRITE OR DIE! magnet. Since both my husband and I are hooked on that granola (not too sweet, fantastic ingredients, healthy…) I replenish our supply every few weeks.

On a snowy day (there was no other kind this winter near Boston) I was making a vat of chicken soup and craving a savory/sweet dessert to go with. Hmmm…. apple pie? I had the apples but wasn’t up for making crust. 

Then I thought: Not pie. Crumble! My eye caught on the granola recipe and I realized it was the perfect topping. So easy. Especially if you’ve got Lucy’s granola on-hand which we always do.

Hallie Ephron’s Apple Crumble with Lucy Burdette's Granola

4 Granny Smiths (or other crisp tart apple) peeled and cut into thick slices
2 or 3 handfuls of Lucy’s Granola   (I like it with almonds or pecans and raisins)
1/3 stick of melted butter
1/3 cup sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. Butter a 7x11x2 glass baking dish
2. Mix the melted butter into the granola and set aside
3. Mix the sliced apples with cinnamon and sugar and transfer to dish. Spread the buttery granola over it.
4. Bake until the topping is is brown and crisp and filling is bubbling - 45-55 minutes
5. Serve warm (with vanilla ice cream if you like) 

New York Times best selling author Hallie Ephron writes suspense novels she hopes keep readers up nights. A three-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Hallie’s newest is just out: Night Night, Sleep Tight. Set in Beverly Hills in the 1960s and 1980s, it is inspired by Hallie’s experiences growing up there in a Hollywood family.
 Visit Hallie at her web site and learn more about her books.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Corn, Pepper, and Chipotle Chicken Chowder @LucyBurdette


LUCY BURDETTE:  About a year ago, on a book tour with Hallie Ephron, Jennifer McMahon, and Molly Weston, I made a stop in Penzey's spices in Raleigh. I bought a bag of dried chipotle peppers, but I never used them. With this chowder, I changed that--and we were crazy about the results. 

Every once in a while I make a dish that causes a dogfight over leftovers--though my photos don't really do it justice, this was one of those!


1 or 2 dried chipotle chiles, soaked in 2 tbsp olive oil and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bunch scallions, minced
5 or so slices of bacon, chopped and cooked
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 or so cup milk 

1 large box chicken stock 

6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced small
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 can cream-style corn
Chopped cilantro, to garnish (optional)

Chop the bacon and sauté in a large stockpot until crisp. Set this aside and blot out most of the grease. Add a little olive oil to the pan and saute the chopped red peppers, the scallions, the chipotle peppers, and the cumin until the vegetables are soft. (The chipotles are spicy and add a distinctive flavor, so you may want to start out conservatively.) Add the flour and cook for a few minutes, making sure to stir well.

Next gradually stir in the box of chicken stock, stirring thoroughly. It should begin to thicken like a white sauce. Add the potatoes and simmer about ten minutes. Add the chicken and both kinds of corn and heat through. Now stir in the cheeses, and finally the milk.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and bacon if desired. (We did!) 

MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now!

 Follow Lucy on Facebook

And Twitter

And Pinterest.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chicken Paprika for a Crowd from Hallie Ephron

LUCY BURDETTE: Hallie Ephron is not only one of my favorite writers, she's a wonderful friend and fabulous foodie. I love to watch her in the kitchen--I know you'll enjoy this story too!
HALLIE EPHRON: I've had plenty of disasters in the kitchen. I once dropped a duck on the floor on the way to the table. And more than once I've nearly flambéed my kitchen. I've learned the hard way not to start sipping my white wine before the main course is cooked and ready to plate. But I'm particularly challenged when I'm cooking for more than 6. 

Recently I hosted a meeting at my house, cooking for 15 people. Playing it safe, I made my go-to dish for a crowd: chicken paprika.

I made a vat of it the day before. It tasted delicious. I put it in the refrigerator, and the next evening, an hour before serving, I put it in the oven. When I pulled it out, it was barely warm. Meanwhile I'd started boiling the noodles (you get where this is going?) 

So I set the pot of chicken paprika on the stove and turned on the burner... high. Fifteen minutes later the noodles are of course overcooked and the paprikash is boiling and, ominously, sticking to the bottom of the pot

"Wow," my guests proclaim as they dig in, "this has such an interesting smoky taste." I try to blame it on the "smoked paprika" which I really did use. But I know the truth. It's burned, not smoky. On top of that I made roughly enough overcooked noodles to serve 50 people.

Leftovers? There were none, because I dumped it all in the trash (when my husband wasn't looking.)

It's not the first time crowd cooking has led to disaster. "What's that nice crunch?" a friend had asked of the arroz con pollo I'd prepared for a party. Uncooked rice. 

Why is it, for someone who effortlessly turns out delicious meals for 4 or 6 guests, it's so dicey to cook for a few more?

So here's my paprika chicken recipe for 4. I dare you to double it.

Chicken Paprika (serves 4)

2 1/2 or so pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
2-3 T of paprika (Hungarian sweet or smoked)
1 T butter
2 T vegetable oil
1 large chopped onion
3 seeded chopped plum tomatoes (you can use canned)
2 c chicken broth
1/2 (or more!) sour cream
1 pound of quartered fresh mushrooms

1. Cut up each chicken thigh into 3 pieces (remove fat); dredge them in flour
2. Heat butter and oil until butter stops spitting; quickly sautee chicken pieces about 4 minutes each in hot fat (will take several rounds) until nicely browned. Remove from pan.
3. Toss the chopped onion into the fat remaining and sautee until just translucent; add tomatoes and paprika and cook low/medium another 2 minutes
4. Add stock and simmer 2-3 minutes until slightly thick
5. Add the chicken back in
6. Cover and simmer another 40 minutes in all -- after 20 minutes throw in the mushroom quarters, stir, cover, and continue cooking
8. With heat low, add sour cream and stir until just heated through. Season to taste.

Serve with flat egg noodles and extra sour cream.

Hallie Ephron  writes suspense novels she hopes keep readers up nights. A three-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark award, Hallie made a splash with “Never Tell a Lie.” In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it “stunning” and a “deliciously creepy tale of obsession.” It was adapted for film as “And Baby Will Fall” for the Lifetime Movie Network.

Hallie’s newest suspense novel, “There Was an Old Woman,” is a story of trust and betrayal, deception and madness. In it, a young woman and a very old woman connect across generations in spite of, or perhaps because, they are not related. Washington Post book reviewer Maureen Corrigan said, “For those who love Gotham and abhor gore, ‘There Was an Old Woman’ is the perfect thriller lite.”

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mother's Recipe Box by Molly Weston

Lucy with Molly Weston

LUCY BURDETTE: I went on a mini-book tour around Raleigh, NC, with Hallie Ephron and Jennifer McMahon this spring. We were guided by Raven-winner Molly Weston, AKA Ms. Mystery

Not only does Molly know her way around a library, she has a nose for amazing southern food. I have never eaten so well or talked quite so much about food. So I knew we needed to have her visit Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Welcome Molly!

MOLLY WESTON:  I used to joke that my mother had only two buttons on her stove—off and high. A first-grade teacher, Mother frequently made week day meals that could be completed quickly. When she fried chicken, she started the process with the well-used high button. Once all the pieces were beautifully browned with crunchy goodness, she dragged the pan off the eye rather than reducing the heat. 

One of Daddy's favorite dishes—corn pudding—took longer to cook, but less time to prepare. I never thought about making it until my family was invited to a relative's home for a gathering. One of the highlights of the meal was a huge, beautifully browned, creamy corn pudding. As soon as I got home, I dug out Mother's recipe box and pulled her recipe.
Over the last year or so I've modified and refined Mothers corn pudding to reflect today's palates and waistlines—less sugar and more corn. I hope you'll enjoy it.


Mother's Corn Pudding—Transformed

1 16 oz. can creamed corn
1 16 oz. corn, drained (a smaller can is fine)
3-4 eggs
2 tbsp. flour (I use Wondra)
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup sugar
10 oz. undiluted evaporated milk (I use nonfat)

Melt butter in 1-1/2-quart baking dish (I tilt the dish after melting butter to grease bottom and sides of dish). Beat together eggs, flour, sugar, and milk (I use my hand blender). Add milk mixture and both cans of corn to buttered baking dish; stir well.

Bake in water bath at 350 degrees one hour or until a dinner knife stuck near center comes out clean.

    While I don't even consider frying chicken, I often barbecue it. My husband never met a chicken he didn't like, so I use a variety of recipes (usually depending on which ingredients I have on hand). I found another jewel in Mother's recipe box—and I had everything I needed!

Lazy BBQ Chicken Sauce

6-1/2 oz. cola (not diet)
1 cup ketchup
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (I use 4)
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 chicken, cut into pieces

Lay chicken in 13" x 9" baking dish. Cover with sauce. Bake at 350 degrees or one hour.

I used my multi-functional cooker for this. I just browned the chicken on both sides (covered), poured the sauce evenly over all the pieces, then switched to slow cook for 3 hours on high.

Molly Weston lives, reads, and, occasionally, cooks in Apex, NC. She blogs about mysteries at Molly also gives frequent talks about her favorite genre in libraries and other venues. She is the editor of inSinC, the Sisters in Crime quarterly.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Eating North Carolina and Cheddar Cornmeal Scones by Lucy Burdette

LUCY BURDETTE: I'm just home from a 12 day road trip in North Carolina, part family time, part writing retreat, and part book tour for TOPPED CHEF, along with my writing friends Hallie Ephron and Jennifer McMahon. 

Lucy with Molly Weston
Molly Weston was our guide and host around the Raleigh-Durham, and let me tell you, she knows exactly where to find good food. We ate our way through the area, sampling eastern North Carolina barbecue, fried chicken, fried okra, biscuits, hushpuppies, cole slaw--and don't let me forget some fabulous Mexican food with margaritas!

I did not have time to work out the recipes for those delicacies, though I promise I will try in the future. Meanwhile, I've got biscuits on the brain and I thought I would share one of my fallback recipes. The cheddar cornmeal scones originally came from Epicurious--I've taken a few things out to save prep time, and pumped up the flavor. These go with everything!


3/4 cup all-purpose flour (can substitute white whole wheat)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
cayenne to taste (I use 1/4 tsp or so)
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 425. Mix together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal. Again using the pastry cutter, blend in the cheese. Stir together the egg and milk and add this to the other ingredients. Stir until combined, then dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead  for a minute until everything holds together. Flatten the dough into a disk and cut it into six pieces. Place the sections on an oiled pan and bake for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. (Try not to overcook or the scones will be dry.)

Serve with butter and honey. These are magnificent with vegetable soup or pea soup or just about anything else you come up with!

Have you bought your copy of TOPPED CHEF yet? It's available now wherever books are sold.

Follow Lucy on Twitter @lucyburdette.

Or "like" her on Facebook

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Welcome Guest Author Hallie Ephron aka Her Foodiness

 LUCY BURDETTE: Hallie Ephron, one of my favorite authors, (also a fabulous foodie friend,) has a new book out in 3 weeks. Today she's visiting MLK to talk food--and she'll give away a copy of THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN to a lucky commenter. Welcome Hallie!

HALLIE EPHRON: Savoring my favorite foods is one of the guilty pleasures of writing. So in THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN, Evie Ferrante has my passion for Chinese soup dumplings. When we go to the aptly named Gourmet Chinese Dumpling House in Boston's Chinatown, I order rack of those succulent babies just for me. Anyone who encroaches on my share gets stabbed with a chopstick.

Evie's boyfriend (aka Mr. Wrong) is all about steak. Which, by the way, I also love, but given a choice between soup dumplings and steak? No contest.

Often I find myself writing about fondly remembered foods -- the ones I can no longer get. In THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN, it's jelly donuts. When Evie returns to the little the grocery store near the house in the Bronx where she grew up, she discovers that the kind she remembers are still there...along with a man who could easily learn to love soup dumplings.

Sadly, my favorite jelly donuts have gone the way of the dodo. They came from Van de Kamps -- back when Van de Kamps was just a bakery. In my memory, those jelly donuts were light, puffy, powdered sugar-coated cakes. Literally jam-packed, front to back, every bite risked spurting some of the filling out the other end. The filling was in a league of its own, thick and tangy and intensely raspberry -- not that pallid, sugary-sweet, gelatinous stuff that finds its way into jelly donuts these days. And there was none of that palate-coating greasy finish that today's donuts deliver.

Though I love to cook, I'd never attempt to make my own jelly donuts. I'm not good with yeast or deep fat. And forget soup dumplings.

Fortunately, I've discovered a great recipe for another gone-but-not-forgotten treat -- chewy, caramel-colored hazelnut biscotti that were once, but sadly no longer, available at my local Italian bakery. This recipe is a close approximation.


Hazelnut Biscotti

3 c. whole hazelnuts (or almonds) (skin on)
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
3 T soft unsalted butter
2 beaten eggs
2 T vanilla
1 beaten egg mixed with 1T water for egg wash

Preheat oven 350

1. Roast nuts
-In a single layer on a cookie tray in the oven - check after about 8 minutes but keep roasting until lightly browned and (if you are using hazelnuts) the skins are coming loose.
- Dump them onto a dish towel and roll them around to rub off most of the skins (if using almonds, leave the skins on).

2. Prepare dough
- Cream the butter with the white sugar in large mixing bowl.
- Add brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and blend.
- Add beaten eggs and vanilla and BEAT with mixer on low speed until dough holds together.
- This makes a VERY STICKY DOUGH.
  Fold in the nuts.
3. Make 2 logs of the dough
- Put dough on floured surface. Cut in half. Roll each piece into a log.
- Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
- Brush each log lightly with egg wash.

4. Bake 30 minutes OR until ***firm*** to the touch. (Go by touch, not time)

5. Remove from oven. Cut diagonally into biscotti. Turn each piece sideways (cut side up) and return to 300 degree oven to dry out and crisp--about five minutes.

My question: What are your "lost" food favorites, and have you been able to recreate them?

THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN is the story of a young woman, Evie Ferrante, who reluctantly returns the house where she grew up on the waterfront in the Bronx in order to deal with the chaos left behind by her gravely ill, alcoholic mother. She renews a friendship with Mina Yetner, the 91-year-old woman who lives next door. Mina helps Evie figure out the meaning of her mother's last message: Don't let him in until I'm gone. And Evie helps Mina figure out whether she's losing her mind.

Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing! And follow Hallie on Facebook for all the latest news...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blueberry Pie from Guest Blogger Hallie Ephron

HALLIE EPHRON: Nothing says summer more than blueberry pie, and best of all when you make it with blueberries you've picked yourself.

We live near Boston and in a few weeks, our nearby aptly named Blue Hills are alive with blueberries. They're tiny wild ones, sweet and delicious, and you have to pick A LOT to make a pie. They are perfect in pancakes because they bury themselves in batter and don't get burned.

There used to be a field in Plymouth, near where our friend Pat Kennedy has as a summer cottage on a pond, that had row on row of all different heirloom varieties of blueberries. The pies made from those were fabulous. But a few years ago that field was let go wild and these days it's more a for harvesting poison ivy.

So we buy our blueberries at the supermarket. My favorite recipe for blueberry pie filling is Pat's, and it tastes great even with store-bought blueberries.

Patty Jo's recipe for blueberry pie filling... with embellishments from me who likes it tart (or taht, as we say in Boston):

- 5 cups of blueberries (wild if you can get them)
- 3 T flour
- 1/2 c sugar
- About 1 tsp lemon juice
- About 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (my addition)
- 1 1/2 T butter

Wash berries, remove stems, and mix with dry ingredients and lemon rind.
Sprinkle with lemon juice (to taste).
Place berries in half pre-baked bottom crust. (I pre-bake the bottom crust about 7-9 minutes to keep it from going mushy.)
Distribute dots of butter over berries.
Cover with top crust.
Brush on egg wash and cut air vents into top crust.
Crimp edges and bake 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

That photo is MY blueberry pie, and as gorgeous as it looks, it tasted better.

Hallie Ephron writes suspense novels that keep readers up nights. Her latest two, COME AND FIND ME and NEVER TELL A LIE, were both nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She blogs with the Jungle Red Writers.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Perfectly Easy Pot Roast by Lucy Burdette

My good writing pal Hallie Ephron has a way of making cooking look easy. For example, she hosted a planning meeting for the New England Crimebake convention last fall and served 15 people without blinking an eye. (And still got her words written for the day!) And the food was yummy!

So I asked her for the recipe--it's truly easy. I try not to eat or serve too much red meat, but every once in a while I cave into the call of something this delicious. This can made on the same day you plan to serve, but it's even better the next day.

1 3 lb brisket or chuck roast
Flour, salt and pepper to coat
1 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
1 pkg of onion soup mix
1 beer (any kind)
6-8 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
8 oz box mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

Dredge the roast in flour, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, then brown both sides in olive oil. Then add all ingredients above to the pot, except for the mushrooms. Simmer for 4 hours, or even longer, at least until it's truly fork tender. Refrigerate overnight, skim the fat, add the quartered mushrooms, and simmer 2 or more hours.

Hallie served her roast with oven-fried potatoes and a green salad. I made mashed potatoes because I wanted a vehicle for all that amazing gravy!

My recipe for the potatoes is peel, chop, and boil potatoes until tender. Dump them into a colander, warm 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk and a couple of tablespoons of butter in the pot. Once the milk is warm and butter melted, return potatoes to the pot and mash. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I'm sorry to say I do not have a photo of the finished product because we were so busy eating it! But while you're waiting for your roast to cook, you have time to read about the new Key West food critic mystery, AN APPETITE FOR MURDER or peruse a few other recipes. And please follow my writing and cooking and eating adventures on Twitter and Facebook.