Showing posts with label Key West food critic mysteries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Key West food critic mysteries. Show all posts

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Chocolate Pudding Family Style #recipe @LucyBurdette

I know, it looks like a rooster:)

LUCY BURDETTE: I've been thinking about a recipe that I clipped out of a local paper six months ago for homemade butterscotch pudding . With my sister visiting, a special dessert that wasn't too fussy seemed in order. However, the 6 tablespoons of butter and three eggs in the recipe dampened my enthusiasm. 

So I went on a search for other puddings, and ended up using one adapted from the Joy of Cooking. And it's chocolate, because I rediscovered my King Arthur cocoa powder! 

First note before you start out, the pudding has to be refrigerated for two hours or up to two days. Although as John and I can attest, warm pudding is delicious too!


1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup +1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons cornstarch
One and a half teaspoons vanilla
Whipped cream if you like it (what else was I going to do with that left over cup of whipping cream?)

Mix the sugar cocoa and salt in a heavy sauce pan. Stir until combined. Gradually stir in the water until a smooth paste is formed. Meanwhile, mix the whipping cream and whole milk, and set aside 1/4 cup. In a small bowl, mix this 1/4 cup milk with the cornstarch, adding it gradually so the mixture is smooth.

Meanwhile, back to the chocolate. Over medium heat, heat the chocolate paste until smooth and beginning to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat.Gradually stir in the cream/milk mixture.

Stir your prepared corn starch into the chocolate mixture and again cook until the mixture begins to thicken. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook for another minute. Make sure you continue stirring through all these steps.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the pudding into four small bowls or one larger. Cover the surfaces with waxed paper to avoid the formation of a Dreaded Skin.

Refrigerate for two hours, up to two days, and serve with whipped cream if you like, and maybe a strawberry. OMG, was this good!

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Follow her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Broiled Yellowtail Snapper, a la Melissa Clark #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Coming from the "fish stick generation," fish is something I don't have complete confidence in cooking. Shrimp I can do. Crab cakes sure. But fish? Not so much. Especially when Key West restaurants do it so well. 

But when our neighbor gave us fresh yellowtail  snapper (caught by his son that very morning,) and when Melissa Clark offered a tasty sounding recipe in the New York Times that also looked easy, how could I resist? This is a flexible recipe so ingredients can be adjusted according to your taste.


 1 pound or so white fish
4 ounces unsalted butter
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder
2 to 4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 to 1 inch fresh ginger, grated 
 Grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a small pan, add the curry powder, fresh garlic, and ginger, and heat for a minute or two until the flavors are combined. Stir in the zest. 

Place the fish fillets on a small, rimmed baking sheet. (I covered mine with foil first.) Heat the oven to broil. 

Spread the sauce and its butter over the fish, and broil until done, or just flaky. Probably not much more than five minutes. 

Serve with lemon wedges, rice, and a vegetable or salad. I still say Seven Fish restaurant in Key West does fish better than I could imagine cooking myself, but this was pretty darn tasty. 

And  just for fun, here's a snippet from AN APPETITE FOR MURDER, when Hayley is writing her first-ever review, of Seven Fish restaurant. Funnily enough, she doesn't even mention the dish I order almost every time (yellowtail snapper in a light Thai curry sauce):

“The best starter isn’t on the regular menu, though it’s almost always offered: Sautéed grouper roll. (Or mahi mahi if the ban on fishing grouper holds.) Prepare your taste buds for a mélange of sweet, fresh fish, buttery avocado, and sauce-absorbing rice, all wrapped in a crispy tissue of seaweed. Incredible! The fish tacos are almost as good—under no circumstances neglect the spicy cole slaw that comes on the side. If you need to eliminate some choices, the crab cake has a larger ratio of cake to crab than this reviewer prefers, and salads are above average but skippable if you’re saving room for dessert.
Above all, do save room for dessert! Like the strawberry whipped cream pie, a tangle of sweet berries sunken into a bed of rich whipped cream complemented by the exquisite surprise of a chocolate graham cracker crust. If bananas flambé isn’t a choice you’d usually make, make an exception. The key lime cheesecake is rich and creamy, but a little short on lime.
As for main courses—“

Then I went on to describe Seven Fish’s main dishes in the twenty-five words I had left. I recommended the sea scallops over mashed potatoes, issued a richness alert on the gnocchi dressed with mellow blue cheese and sautéed fish, and began to tackle my mixed feelings about ordering meatloaf or chicken in a restaurant featuring “fish” in the name.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Banana Cake with Maple Frosting #recipe @lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Last week, we ended up with three bunches of bananas on the counter—John bought two before he noticed that I’d come home with another. Naturally they all began to ripen at the same time. We like bananas, but not that well! Then visions of banana cake with frosting containing maple syrup came bounding into my mind. Not a bad outcome! So I went on the hunt...

The bones of the cake I borrowed from The Gunny Sack, though their icing sounded too sweet and I wanted to use real syrup, not maple flavoring. So I cut the butter and the sugar in the frosting in half.

Baking soda is a challenge for bakers and eaters who need to watch their sodium—over 1200 mg in one teaspoon. I used the no sodium kind, which simply doesn’t work as well, even when doubled. However flat the cake turned out, the taste was still delicious! Next time I might bake it in a smaller pan…or even walk on the wild side and try low sodium baking powder, which is much more successful.

Banana Cake

4 oz cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (2 and ½ in my case)

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda, 2 if using low sodium

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese, softened

4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar


With your mixer (handheld or Kitchenaid) beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Beat the sugars in, followed by the eggs and mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda) and beat briefly.

Pour the batter into a greased pan (9 by 13 is what I used) and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the icing, beat together cream cheese and butter for 1 minute.

Add maple syrup and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Taste for maple intensity.

Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating after each cup. Frost the cake when cool. Hey, this could work for mother's day!

oh yummy!

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Follow her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easy Strawberry Cream Cheese Dip #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: I love salty chips and dips--good old Ruffles and Lipton onion soup dip to me are heaven! But they do not love me. So when it was my turn to bring a nibble to a party, I started thinking about whipping up something slightly sweet instead of savory. I wanted a dip that would go with Stacy's sugar cinnamon chips (my new addiction.) This couldn't be easier and better and yet, everyone liked it!


8 ounces whipped cream cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup plain yogurt
5 to 6 ripe strawberries, finally chopped
Honey, about one tsp or to taste

Chips and fruit for dippingMix the cream cheese with the yogurt and stir in the chopped strawberries. Taste, and add honey according to your sweet tooth. My strawberries were not completely ripe and sweet so, I added a teaspoon. 

Serve the dip with cinnamon sugar chips or plain crackers or fruit such as strawberries halves and chunks of pineapple.

And it's so easy, you have time left over to read--or write. And I am writing a brand new Key West food critic mystery...hooray!

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Follow her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tasty Broccoli Slaw #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Here's another recipe that got stuck in my brain and did not want to leave until I'd made it several times: broccoli slaw. Up until this point in my cooking life, I've thrown out my broccoli stalks. But no more! I decided against the sweet and raisin-y kind, and concentrated on lots of herbs. Here's what I came up with...


Two heaping tablespoons mayonnaise 
One heaping teaspoon mustard (I use Kozlik's--both tasty and low-sodium)
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar

One half head red cabbage 
Three stalks broccoli
Two carrots

Finely chop the cabbage. Peel the broccoli and carrots, and then chop them – I use the food processor for this. It's so easy and it makes the pieces more uniform.

Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients together and taste. Any of these can be replaced, increased, or decreased according to your liking. And of course those who feel the slaw needs salt can salt it at the table. The recipe makes a lot of slaw, but that's okay because it lasts several days and goes with most anything!

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Follow her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Maple Chipotle Chicken Sandwich #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTEI’ve told you how I love love love my new slow cooker. Here’s one of the first recipes I tried with it, found on Pinterest and adapted for low-sodium eaters. Now we’ve made it several times and served it to guests too, with good reviews! And it's perfect for winter, even in Key West.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes, fire roasted
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground mustard (I use Kozlik’s)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper


Brown the chicken on both sides, then add the onions to the pot and let those brown a little too.

Mix the tomatoes and water with the maple syrup and spices and add all this to the crockpot.

Cook on low for four hours. Shred the chicken (using two forks) and return it to the pot. Remove the pepper and discard. 

Serve on crusty rolls or a nice baguette to catch all the yummy juice. Maybe a little cole slaw piled on top? We happened to have my sister’s homegrown broccoli in the fridge so we used that for our greens.

Honestly, it's like magic to drop all that stuff in the crockpot and come back hours later to--a meal!

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries.  Follow her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Chicken and Wild Rice Crockpot soup #recipe @lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Have I mentioned that I’ve fallen in love with my crockpot since my oven died? Not every single thing I’ve tried has been amazing, but we’ve eaten well overall. I bought a cooker that has a browning option, so browning the chicken and onions before adding the other ingredients boosts the flavor.

This chicken and wild rice soup started as a recipe I found on Pinterest from Iowa Girl Eats.

And of course I made some adjustments for low-sodium eating. This means using low sodium broth, cutting out the salt, and increasing the most flavorful vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and celery. And then I added spinach for color and green goodies. Yummy! And it can be waiting for you when you get home from work or shopping or writing...



1 lb chicken breasts (do not use frozen,) cut in half if large
1 large onion
3 carrots, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
leaves from about an inch of fresh rosemary
2 small bay leaves
2 Tablespoons butter 
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth plus 2 cups water
3/4 cup Lundberg Farms wild rice-brown rice blend 
Several handfuls of fresh spinach

Brown the chicken and onion for several minutes. Then switch the heat to low, and add all ingredients into a 6-quart crock pot. 

Cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken breasts are cooked through. Rice should be done around the same time. 

Shred chicken then stir back into soup and serve (soup will thicken as it cools.) 

About a half hour before the soup is done, add the fresh spinach. Serve with a salad and enjoy!

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries.  Follow her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

SPOOKY Carrot Eyes for #Halloween #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Supposing you're having a Halloween party, or maybe even better you're going to one, but you're supposed to bring something spooky. And maybe it's not supposed to be a sweet. 
Then this recipe is for you. In fact, it's so easy that you may say Lucy, that's what you call a recipe?? But let me tell you, my taste testers thought it was both adorable and delicious.
Ingredients for spooky carrot eyes

Whipped cream cheese
Sliced black olives
Onion powder to taste
White pepper to taste

The amounts of the above will depend on how many of these you are making.
To serve three people before lunch, I used one carrot, one large tablespoon of cream cheese, and a dash of the onion powder and white pepper. If you're making a bigger plate of "eyes", simply double or triple the amounts.

Wash and scrape the carrots and cut them into rounds, probably about half inch thickness will work best. Mix the cream cheese with the seasonings (and feel free to substitute other favorites if you prefer.)

Top each carrot round with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture and place a black olive "eye" on top. That's it! Refrigerate until serving.

And if the carrots don't float your boat, how about pumpkins stuffed with cornbread, leeks, and bacon?

Or Cornmeal Pumpkin Pound Cake?

 Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries--her Key West Halloween book is called KILLER TAKEOUT.  Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Herbalicious Spaghetti and Meatballs #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Some days I simply crave good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatballs. But most traditional versions are loaded with sodium and thus off-limits to me. But this enormous basil plant was calling to me: Lucy! Lucy! spaghetti! spaghetti!

How could I refuse? I've tried a few other recipes, but this one really stood out. (And my hub loved it too!) I happened to have some low-sodium corn muffins in the freezer, but you can improvise if you're not so lucky.)

Ingredients for the meatballs

1 pound good quality ground beef
Two low-sodium corn muffins (or 2 slices bread)

one egg
1/4 cup milk
One half onion, chopped finely
One clove garlic, ditto
One half teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper
Half a teaspoon Jane's Crazy mixed-up pepper


Mix all ingredients together and fashion the mixture into meatballs, size of your choice. Place these on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Turn them halfway through so both sides have a chance to brown. Set these aside on paper towels to drain.


For the sauce

24 ounce jar unsalted crushed tomatoes (I love the local Bishop's Orchards brand)
One onion, chopped
One large clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Three-quarter teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 to 6 large basil leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste



Sauté the garlic and onion until soft, and then add the oregano and pepper. After a few minutes of simmering, add the tomatoes. Cook these ingredients together for about 30 to 45 minutes, then add the basil and simmer again. 


Taste the sauce to see if it's to your liking – I added a teaspoon sugar.

This amount of sauce is appropriate for about half the meatballs, so add the balls to the sauce and simmer again. (I froze the remainder for another day.) If you were serving a larger crowd, you might double the tomato sauce and add all the meatballs. 

The flavors will meld together nicely if you make this a day ahead. Serve on good-quality pasta with fresh grated Parmesan on the side. And something green of course.

The seventh Key West mystery, KILLER TAKEOUT, is on bookshelves everywhere. What about yours?

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