Showing posts with label Hank Phillippi Ryan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hank Phillippi Ryan. Show all posts

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Welcome our guest Hank Phillippi Ryan!!

Hank is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston's NBC affiliate. She's won 32 EMMYs, 12 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. A bestselling author of seven mystery novels, Hank has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: three Agathas, the Anthony, Daphne, Macavity, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a "master at crafting suspenseful mysteries" and "a superb and gifted storyteller." Her 2013 novel, THE WRONG GIRL, has the extraordinary honor of winning the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and the Daphne Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, and is a seven-week Boston Globe bestseller. Her newest hardcover, TRUTH BE TOLD, is a Library Journal Editor’s Pick and RT Book Reviews Top Pick, with starred reviews from Booklist and from Library Journal, which raves, “Drop everything and binge read!” She's a founding teacher at Mystery Writers of America University and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime.

Thanksgiving Solution!

Thanksgiving is coming! (You don’t need me to remind you, I know.) Every time I think of Thanksgiving, I think of my mom. She taught us that turkey was best if it was dry, not juicy. Seriously. I grew up thinking that juicy turkey was undercooked.

At our Thanksgiving table, you’d hear—“Oh, yum, Mom, this turkey is great, it’s really dry.”

Good going, mom. Fooled us all these years. (I still prefer dry turkey. But that is another blog.)

TRUTH BE TOLD, there’s no such thing as a holiday for a reporter, so the last time Jane Ryland (the lead character in my latest series) sat down to a fabulous holiday dinner is—well, never.  I know the feeling. As a reporter for the last 40 years, I’m often working on Thanksgiving, so all I get are the leftovers.

However! Making something out of nothing is the hallmark of a good reporter—as well as a good story-teller. And in this case, it’s especially wonderful if the “nothing” includes wine and fresh mushrooms. And leftovers.

First, get the leftovers from a roast turkey. (Okay, I know this may be a problem. If you’re doing Thanksgiving, it’s easy. If not, get some turkey. But it can’t be sliced deli turkey. It’s got to be authentic turkey that a real person actually cooked.)

Then, read this recipe all the way through before you start because its success depends on doing several things at the same time--and having the ingredients prepped and the utensils ready to go. It sounds a little more complicated than it actually is, and the first time I made it I burst out laughing--it looked like I had used every pan I owned. Now I've made it so often I don't even need the recipe anymore!

You can use more or less pasta and mushrooms and turkey--it doesn't really matter. An added bonus--your kitchen will smell fantastic while this is cooking.

This serves about 6-8 people-- and reheats beautifully. This is so delicious and decadent, we look forward to this just as much as our holiday turkey.

And read to the end for a special MLK only giveaway!

 Turkey Tetrazzini ala Hank

*1 pound mushrooms
*1/4 to ½ pound spaghetti or macaroni
*two or three cups shredded cooked white meat turkey (leftover from your holiday turkey!)
*3 Tablespoons butter, plus three more tablespoons butter
*I clove chopped garlic
*3 Tablespoons flour
*2 cups chicken broth
*1 cup heated whipping cream (fat-free half and half will also work)
*3 Tablespoons dry white wine
*salt and pepper
* grated Parmesan cheese.


Preheat the oven to 375.

*1 pound sliced mushrooms
 Saute' in butter and chopped garlic...keep warm, while at the same time you

*1/4 to ½ pound spaghetti or macaroni.

While this is cooking,
Take the leftover meat from your holiday turkey--shred it so you have
*two or three cups shredded turkey
(I like just using white meat--but it works with dark too)

Set aside in a bowl large enough to allow you to add to it.

Okay, I know this sounds complicated, but at the same time you're going to make a sauce:

*3 Tablespoons butter
Sprinkle with
*3 Tablespoons flour
Stir to make a paste, then add  (a little at a time…)
*2 cups chicken broth
Allow to thicken...this will take about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, then stir in
*1 cup heated whipping cream (fat-free half and half will also work)
*3 Tablespoons dry white wine
*salt and pepper

**Drain the pasta, put it back into the pan and mix in the sautéed mushrooms. Add one half of the sauce to this mixture.

**Add the other half of the sauce to the bowl of shredded turkey.

**Put the pasta and mushroom mixture in a greased baking dish. Make a hole in the center, and

**put the turkey/sauce mixture in the middle.

**Sprinkle the top with
* grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake till lightly browned and cooked least 20 minutes.

SO delicious! You will not believe it. So--make a lot.

HANK: Well, now I’m hungry. But do you have any turkey secrets? Leave a comment..and you’ll be entered to win the Hank book of your choice: THE OTHER WOMAN, THE WRONG GIRL, or TRUTH BE TOLD! Remember to leave your email address so Hank can contact you if you win.

Visit Hank online at, on Twitter @HankPRyan and Facebook at

Here's a teaser for:

TRUTH BE TOLD begins with an all-too-familiar tragedy in today’s headlines: a middle-class family evicted from their home in the suburbs of Boston. In digging up the facts on this heartbreaking story—and on other foreclosures—reporter Jane Ryland soon learns the truth behind a big-bucks scheme and the surprising players who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep their goal a secret.

Boston police detective Jake Brogan may have a liar on his hands. A man has confessed to the Lilac Sunday killing, a long-unsolved murder that haunted Brogan’s police-commissioner grandfather. While Jake’s colleagues take the confessor at his word, Jake is not so sure.

In the meantime, Ryland and Brogan’s paths are once-again intertwined—and as their private relationship heats up, it may mean difficulties in their professional lives.

Financial manipulation, the terror of foreclosures, the power of numbers, the primal need for home and family and love… What happens when everything you believe is true turns out to be a lie?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

First, a little exciting news!

They say when chocolate and flowers aren't enough...

I attended the Love is Murder mystery conference this past weekend. Always in the Chicago area, always an incredibly great time. People talk about how this is one of the warmest, most welcoming conferences out there, and they're right. So much fun. The blizzard of 2011 might have scared folks a bit in the days leading up to it, but by the time the wonderful organizers opened the doors, Chicago had its act together and we were ready to have fun.

At the Saturday banquet, Love is Murder bestows their version of a readers' choice award -- the Lovey -- to authors in various categories. I was delighted and thrilled when GRACE UNDER PRESSURE won a Lovey for "Best Traditional/Amateur Sleuth." A full list of winners can be found on Carol Thomas's Mystery Examiner Series article here.

Below is a photo of my award, isn't it gorgeous?

More news! The Love Is Murder organizers asked me to be their local guest of honor next year! How cool is that!! The other guests of honor will be Donald Bain, Julie James, David Morrell, and the delightful Hank Phillippi Ryan who has guested here a few times.

If you have a chance to come to Chicago next February 3 -5, please do so. Yes, I know it's cold here, but the people are warm and the conference is lovely.

Okay, are you still with me?

I received more awesome good news Wednesday. EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS, third in my White House Chef Mystery series, has been nominated for a BARRY AWARD in the Best Paperback Original category!

I am crazy excited and honored beyond belief. Others in my category include Val McDermid, Bryan Gruley, Sophie Hannah, Judith Rock, and A.D. Scott. Congrats to all, and good luck all around! The complete list of nominees can be found on Janet Rudolph's blog here.

You know, I'm feeling kind of out of breath just typing all that. I can't even begin to tell you what a whirlwind week this has been. Only problem... I haven't gotten any writing done! Yikes. Next week for sure!

In the meantime, I need something sweet and delicious to help celebrate Valentine's Day. And what better choice than....

Chocolate Covered Strawberries!!

Chocolate covered strawberries just ooze with Valentine's Day goodness, don't they? One of our favorite local restaurants - which is also a winery - always has delicious, fresh, chocolate covered strawberries on display. I find it *very* difficult to pass by without picking out a couple to take home.

But on these snowy, wintry days, nobody wants to go out. Not even for dinner. (Did I actually just say that??)

This Valentine's Day, why not surprise your sweeties (spouses, kids, significant others) with chocolate covered strawberries? They're easy, delicious, and I have a few hints and ideas I picked up over the years of making them.

A long time ago, a relative who always made chocolate covered strawberries for family events gave me her secret. Melt a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave, she said, but be sure to add a couple tablespoons of butter to make it smooth. And you know what, that worked. Except... I dunno... the strawberries came out with a matte finish. And they were just a little grainy, melting quickly in my fingers when I picked them up.

But then I started adding a couple tablespoons of Crisco (vegetable shortening) instead. Yeah, I know this isn't the healthiest recipe in the world, but do I plan to eat an entire pound of these at one sitting?

Umm, well, hmm. Maybe I'd better not answer that!

Anyway, just like Cleo, this is less a recipe than a how-to.

Here goes:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels (I prefer semi-sweet, but you can adjust with other flavors as you prefer)
2 Tbsp Crisco shortening, to give your strawberries that shine
1 or 2 long skewers
Toppings of choice... coconut shavings, crushed nuts, etc. I used Heath Bar crumbles - little toffee bits - that I found in the same area as my chocolate morsels.

Wash and dry strawberries. Keep the green tops on. Now... I know you've heard this before, but be sure these strawberries are completely dry. Even the tiniest bit of water can cause chocolate to seize up. With the Crisco in there, the worry is slightly diminished, but you really don't want grainy chocolate. Strawberries = dry.

Melt chocolate and Crisco in a microwave safe bowl by heating for about 15 seconds, stirring, and repeating until the mixture is smooth. You may find you need to add a little more Crisco, but don't add too much. You don't want a watery consistency.

Spear the top of a strawberry with one of your skewers and twirl in the bowl of melted chocolate until it's about 3/4 covered. I used to do this with my fingers, but the spear makes it so much easier!

At this point, you could be done. Using a fork, or your fingers, slide the chocolate covered strawberry onto wax paper to dry.

But... if you want to add extra flavor, you can take the freshly dipped strawberry and roll it in a small bowl of your topping of choice. I wasn't quite sure how the toffee would work - wasn't sure if the sweet, juicy strawberry and the coarse, crunchy toffee would work well together (sometimes it's a texture thing, you know?) but I am very happy to say that the combination was a huge hit. In fact, the toffee covered ones were the first to go.
Yep. Ate them all that afternoon.
Did I really just say that, too?

Thanks for stopping by today and thanks for letting me share my good news. Hope you enjoy making these. They're crazy-easy and make such a beautiful display. The only problem? There are never enough!

Happy Valentine's Day!