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, 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?

You can follow Lucy on Facebook,
and Instagram!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Key West-themed Dinner for #bookclub week #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Today I have the honor of kicking off Book Club Week in our kitchen. I do so love introducing readers and book groups to my Key West series. As I was mulling over what book to choose and food to suggest, I received an email from a Connecticut acquaintance. She told me that her book group was reading AN APPETITE FOR MURDER and wondered if I could "visit" by Face Time? Of course I could! I was blown away by the enthusiasm of the group, and the Key West decorations, and the hostess's menu. I thought it would be fun to show you what they did. Luckily, Cindy Cartier, the hostess, agreed!

It makes sense to choose the first book in a series if many of the members aren't familiar with the series, which is what Cindy did. I asked her a few questions about the evening--you will really enjoy reading what she cooked up--she's amazing!

Lucy: How did you choose AN APPETITE FOR MURDER?  

The book club (Cindy is 3rd from left)

CINDY: I LOVE culinary mysteries because I LOVE food!! Growing up in an Italian household, I truly benefited from standing at the apron strings of my mother who excelled at both cooking and baking.  There was always something cooking on the stove and baking in the oven. I also love to read murder mysteries.  Having a demanding career (I am an attorney/partner at my own law firm) and juggling children 14, 5 and 2 (yes, I am changing diapers at 50 - more later,) when I can escape with a good book, it is truly a treat.  So, when I started looking up books for our meeting, I came across your books and loved the character and location. It being summer, I thought this would be a nice escape for everyone as well.  I had no idea that you lived so close to us - a real bonus!!

LUCY: Tell us about the fabulous menu and decorations that you cooked up!

Lucy's Leaning Tower of Eggplant
CINDY: As I love food (did I say that), I also enjoy watching Giada on the cooking channel - in fact, I have her on in the background as I am chasing my little ones - she reminds me so much of my mom (who I lost too young - she was 43 when she passed) and it makes me feel a little connection to her.  So, Giada had an episode where she cooked a meal for her book club around the theme of the book.  So, me channeling Giada, I wanted to do the same.  I did go a little overboard with the food, decorations and drink - but I also love to entertain and share my love of food (I do so love food).   I had the members bring some appetizers (fruit platter including pineapples and coconut; various dips with a Caribbean theme), drinks (Mojitos, Hemingway Cocktails - apparently he loved to drink these and Smore Martinis), and dessert including a key lime pie of course and a key lime dip with fruit.   

Decorations included a hot pink/lime green theme. I haven't been to Key West yet, but from the description in your book and others who have described the area, I imagined bright colors.  I included plates, napkins, etc. keeping with this theme.  I also had jelly beans (pink/green) in large glasses on the table, drink glasses with straws in the same color theme, flowers, etc. In addition to appetizers, drinks and dessert, menu was as follows:

1. Key West Chicken - I combined a few recipes
2. Caribbean Rice
3. Eggplant Towers from your book, but I grilled eggplant instead of frying. (I had a health moment.)
4. Watermelon/Arugula salad
5. Tossed salad

Recipe - Caribbean Rice:

•    2 cups long-grain rice
•    14 ozs unsweetened coconut milk
•    2 garlic cloves (minced)
•    11/2 tsps sea salt
•    1/2 tsp allspice
•    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
•    1 tbsp butter
•    1 1/2 cups yellow, orange, red and purple bell peppers (diced)
•    1/2 cup diced red onions
•    15 ozs pineapple (canned, tidbits, drained and juice reserved)
•    41/2 ozs Old El Paso™ chopped green chiles
•    1/4 cup jalapeno chilies (Old El Paso Sliced, diced)
•    1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1.    Add the rice, coconut milk, garlic cloves, salt, allspice, cayenne, and reserved pineapple juice to a medium sauce pot. Use the coconut milk can to add 14 ounces water to the rice. Stir well. Set over medium heat and cover. Bring to a boil, then stir and lower the heat. Cover and allow the rice to cook until the liquid is absorbed and air holes form in the surface of the rice, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.

2.    Meanwhile, add the butter to a large deep skillet and set over medium heat. Add the diced bell peppers and onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, to just barely soften. Then remove from heat and add the pineapple tidbits, Old El Paso Green Chiles and Sliced Jalapeños to the skillet.

3.    Once the rice is tender and fluffy, dump it into the skillet and toss well to combine. Toss in the fresh chopped cilantro. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm as a side dish, or serve with shrimp of chicken on top!

Yoda recommends the book too
LUCY: Thanks again to all of your book club members for reading AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. And thanks to Cindy for her fabulous celebration suggestions!

If your group would like to discuss AN APPETITE FOR MURDER at one of your meetings, here are some questions to get you started. Also feel free to contact me about "appearing" at one of your book club events. LucyBurdette at gmail dot come 

(Note to self: Review the book before you talk to the ladies so you know the answers to their questions LOL!)

And here are a few other book club posts to consider if you've already done AN APPETITE FOR MURDER:

DEATH IN FOUR COURSES plus chocolate fudge pie

MURDER WITH GANACHE plus nocciolato fudge

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Grilled Shrimp and Peaches #recipe for a Crowd @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: I know I've mentioned my supper club on this blog here in the past--we are six couples who try to get together 3 to 5 times a year for dinner and chatter. The hostess (and host) are responsible for the main course and the table setting, and each of the other couples brings a dish. The hostess can assign certain recipes or leave it open-ended. For various reasons, this year got away from us so we wanted to throw together an easy summer supper. We ended up with a mixed grill, potato salad, salad, grilled vegetables, and a lemon and orange-glazed angel food cake from 4 and 20 Blackbirds bakery in Guilford CT for dessert. Everyone loved our shrimp and the peaches so I'll share those recipes with you!

Ingredients for the the shrimp

Three large shrimp per person (33 for my event), shelled and deveined
1/2 cup good olive oil
One large lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 to 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped


Mix the ingredients, olive oil to brown sugar, and taste to see if you need more lemon. Stir in the chopped garlic. Let the shrimp sit in the marinade in a glass dish for 2 to 4 hours, stirring from time to time. Meanwhile, soak bamboo skewers in water. I had the 8 inch kind, which fits three large shrimp.


Thread three shrimp crossways onto each skewer so they will lie flat on the grill. Grill on medium high heat for three minutes each side. The brown sugar should result in a nice glaze. 

For the peaches: Pit six peaches and slice them lengthwise. (We all agreed there was no need to peel them!) Brush the peach flesh with lemon juice and then a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary. Grill for 6-8 minutes in a grill pan, flipping once.


I served the shrimp with grilled sausages and grilled peach halves--A very very mixed grill!

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Are you all caught up? This easy dinner will leave you plenty of time to read... and then for all the latest news, follow Lucy on: