Showing posts with label Jennifer McMahon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jennifer McMahon. Show all posts

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!) 

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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!

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