Showing posts with label Janet Bolen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Janet Bolen. Show all posts

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sweet Zombies

A very warm welcome to our friend, Janet Bolin. Janet writes the Threadville Mysteries. Set in Pennsylvania, Threadville is a charming town dedicated to the sewing arts. It's the place to go for fabric, threads, embroidery threads, quilting supplies, buttons and bows, and and occasional murder!

And now, Janet!

Thank you, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, for inviting me to post again. Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen is one of my favorite blogs—and I tend to look here first when I need a recipe.

My fourth Threadville Mystery, NIGHT OF THE LIVING THREAD, comes out on June 3.  When Daryl Wood Gerber AKA Avery Aames suggested the title, I knew I had to use it. Thank you Daryl/Avery!

Living thread?” How can embroidery thread be alive?

It can’t, but it can glow in the dark and tremble in the breezes and appear to move around by itself. And if that isn’t freaky enough, NIGHT OF THE LIVING THREAD also involves ancient Egyptian curses, a wedding, a craft fair, and people dressing up like zombies and scaring the folks of Threadville. It’s all good fun until one of the craft fair participants is actually killed by a “killer” wedding gown, and the bride becomes a suspect...

That’s when our intrepid machine embroider, Willow, and her Threadville friends, helped and hindered by the bride’s outspoken mother, decide it’s time to figure out who really killed the victim. The gown couldn’t have acted by itself. Willow and the Threadville gang have to snoop in the rooms of their houseguests and creep through a haunted graveyard (styled after the Evans City Cemetery, which is not far from Threadville, and where scenes of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD were filmed) to unmask a killer.

In honor of the launch of NIGHT OF THE LIVING THREAD, I created this recipe. Beware. These cookies aren’t genteel like gingerbread men, which include other spices and molasses to temper the ginger. These zombies contain lots of ginger. They might bite back.


Adapted from the recipe on the back of my Undead Fred cookie cutter package


3 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat to give my zombies icky-looking skin—if you’re going to frost the cookies and/or are not fond of the taste or sturdy texture of whole wheat flour, substitute white flour for all or part of it.)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 cup butter (you could use up to 1 cup), room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

2 large eggs

1 heaping tablespoon ginger paste

Skim milk (about 1/2 cup)


Stir flour, baking soda, and ground ginger together with a whisk or a fork.

With your mixer, cream sugar and butter. My butter wasn’t warm enough, so I made little butter tombstones and stood them in the sugar to speed the warming. And you need tombstones to create proper zombies, right?

Beat in eggs, candied ginger, and ginger paste until well blended.

Add flour mixture and stir at low speed until blended.

Add milk and blend at low speed until dough will stick together. Don’t let it become soggy.

Divide dough in half.

Roll out to about 1/4 inch between sheets of parchment paper.

Refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Peel off parchment paper and place dough on floured surface. Cut out.

Bake on silicone baking pad for about 20 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool. These become more gingery after a day...

Those who are good at decorating cookies, please go wild.

Sweet and buttery graveyard.
The right consistency.
Ready to cut.

Zombie Apocalypse!

The first three Threadville Mysteries are DIRE THREADS, THREADED FOR TROUBLE, and THREAD AND BURIED. Janet’s working on the fifth one, SEVEN THREADLY SINS.

In addition to reading, writing, and walking dogs, Janet’s hobbies include sewing, knitting, and machine embroidery, including using software and killer (!) sewing machines to create original embroidery designs.


Janet is giving away a copy of 
Please leave a comment to enter! 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

And then there was the time she put sugar in her salt shaker ...

Please welcome our good friend and guest blogger, Janet Bolin, whose very entertaining first mystery, Dire Threads, will debut on June 7th. Janet's trademark sense of humor shows in the story behind this unusual but delicious recipe! Have fun reading and cooking and discovering her family secrets.
Thanks for letting me appear on one of my favorite blogs!
My mother liked salt. When she cooked, I could taste very little except salt. She added salt to fruit and to cakes and cookies, and she strongly objected to sweetness if she thought something should taste salty.
To her, tomatoes were supposed to be salty, never sweet. She canned tomato juice from tomatoes my father grew. My aunts—my father had four sisters, none of them married, who lived together—canned tomato juice from tomatoes they grew, too.
In the canning process, my mother salted her tomato juice . My aunts sugared theirs.
Thanksgiving dinner was always at my aunts’ house.
As we milled around in the living room before the meal, my aunts proudly handed us each a small glass of their lovely, slightly sweet tomato juice.
My outspoken mother didn’t want to hurt my aunts’ feelings, so she made faces that she thought they might not notice. Before her horrified grimaces became really, really obvious, one of us kids would sidle up to her, chug our own glass of tomato juice, trade glasses with her, and talk to her about something, anything, else until her I-just-might-gag-right-this-very-minute expression finally subsided.
I can just imagine the faces she would have made about the dessert that another friend’s mother fed to her kids. This mother cubed cheddar cheese, poured maple syrup over it, and served it in bowls to be eaten with spoons. I was leery—cheddar is a bit salty, after all, and maple syrup is sweet, but I liked it.
All that cheese and syrup seemed a little decadent, though. I like cheese crêpes and I like pancakes with syrup, so I created a compromise—adding grated cheese to pancakes. First, I tried medium cheddar. Although nice in crêpes, the cheddar was too salty (!) with the syrup. Next, I tried grated part-skimmed mozzarella, you know, the kind sold in bags at the grocery store (grating mozzarella isn’t exactly easy or fun.)
The pancakes came out with a creamy yet slightly nutty (not surprising, since I also added walnuts) tang. And of course, I poured gobs of maple syrup over them.
They’re almost a dessert, but since they’re chock full of eggs and cheese, I call them lunch. Or brunch.

Makes about a dozen saucer-sized pancakes.
1. Beat lightly in a largish bowl:
2 cups skimmed milk
4 tablespoons walnut oil
3 large eggs
2. In a separate bowl, put:
2 cups pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
Stir with a fork to sift (or use a sifter if you really must)
3. Stir into flour mixture:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups grated part-skimmed mozzarella cheese
4. Pour flour mixture into liquids and stir until flour is damp.
5. Cook by large spoonfuls on hot griddle or frying pan. When bubbles form on top, turn and brown the other side.
6. Don’t forget the maple syrup. And maybe a pat or two of butter.
7. Warning: if you eat many of these pancakes, allow time for an afternoon snooze. But that’s always true with pancakes, right?

Janet Bolin writes the Threadville mystery series, about a sleuth who teaches machine embroidery and helps catch murderers in a village of textile shops (and suspects!)

DIRE THREADS, Berkley Prime Crime, June 7, 2011

Visit Janet at