Showing posts with label Leslie Budewitz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leslie Budewitz. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Easiest Baked Fish in the World


LESLIE: We usually eat fish once a week, and this is the easiest cooking method ever—except, of course, fish cooked by someone else! It checks all the boxes—it’s yummy, zesty, and pretty.

And it scores high on ease of prep and clean-up. It’s also a highly versatile method that works beautifully on just about any kind of firm white fish—cod, flounder, halibut, tilapia.

For some reason, as I was writing this, I found myself singing "'Swim,' said the mama fishy, 'fast as you can,' and he swam and he swam right over the dam!"

This is perfect with a green salad or asparagus, fresh rolls, and a glass of white wine! Singing optional.

(I seem to have misplaced the photo of the ingredients, so I'm giving you a shot of my new supervisor instead!)

The Easiest Baked Fish in the World

1-1/4 pounds firm white fish
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, thinly sliced.
1 tablespoon capers, optional
3 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Italian herb blend
(or substitute ½ cup Italian herbed breadcrumbs)
2-3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a glass or ceramic baking dish with parchment paper. Lay the fish fillets in the dish, in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the lemon slices on top, add the capers if you’re using them, and drizzle on the melted butter. Bake 12-15 minutes, until fish turns opaque in the center and cuts easily. Remove from oven. Mix the breadcrumbs and herbs together and sprinkle over the fish, then garnish with the parsley and serve.

Bon appetit!







The lemon slices are the eyes, and a bit of parsley fell off just right to be the nose...



From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher. 

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

#Easter #recipes -- Carrot-Walnut Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting


LESLIE: Why did the bunny cross the road? To get one of these!

Seriously, why do we associate bunnies with Easter? Let alone the egg thing. Turns out, it’s a German legend that probably grew out of the medieval association of rabbits with fertility, because they breed like—well, like rabbits. Some ancients apparently believed that rabbits were hermaphrodites and reproduced without sex, making them ripe for association with the Virgin Mary. (This is getting a little weird, isn’t it?)

So where do the eggs come in? Birds were also an early symbol of fertility. In the Orthodox church, believers did not eat eggs during the Lenten fast. To preserve them for later, they boiled or pickled the eggs, then ate them on Easter, when the fast was broken. Decorating them became part of the celebration.

Eventually, the legends merged, and the Osterhase, or Easter Hare, was born. Or hatched. Like all good mythic holiday figures, he brings gifts for the good children—decorated eggs. The legend came to the U.S. with 19th century German immigrants, no doubt including mine. They also brought us St. Nick and the decorated tree, but happily, those legends have stayed separate.

Beatrix Potter made the clothed rabbit a familiar figure, trotting through the carrot patch.

And that path leads to carrot cake. Which I love, but I wanted to try something different. On my way to digging out my mother’s old recipe for carrot cookies with orange frosting, I found these. They’re a cross between a bar cookie and cake, denser than cake but not heavy. And according to Mr. Right, they make an excellent breakfast.

Half a cup of golden raisins would be a lovely addition. The frosting recipe below is half a typical cake recipe, so if you’d like to use it on a two-layer cake, double it.

(Back before my first book came out, I took a watercolor class. Behold, Bunny Two Ears and Bunny with a Gleam in His Eye!)

Carrot-Walnut Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot-Walnut Bars

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking power
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup oil (I used canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups grated carrots (2-3 medium carrots)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 13X9 inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in the carrots, walnuts, and coconut.

Spread batter into pan and bake 25-28 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack. Frost. Cut in bars and store in refrigerator. Makes 24 bars.










Cream Cheese Frosting

3-4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
milk to thin, if necessary

 With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Add up to a teaspoon of milk to thin, if necessary.

Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating well, until frosting reaches an easy-to-spread consistency.



  Okay, we ate a couple before I took the picture. No eggs for me, I guess!





From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.



Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher. 

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Spaghetti Squash


LESLIE: Last fall, when a friend proudly presented us with a homegrown spaghetti squash, we made Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls. Like a little burrito, without the tortilla and with their own bowls! 

A few weeks ago, I came across this recipe in a magazine while visiting my mother, so when I spotted spaghetti squash in the grocery store, I brought the tasty thing home with me. And made them even tastier with the addition of some of Mr. Right’s favorite things: marinated artichokes and cheese. We changed the recipe a bit, naturally—I seem incapable of doing otherwise! 

Starting the cooking in the microwave was brilliant, and worked perfectly. Plus it cut the cooking time considerably, and we’ll do that next time we make the Stuffed Squash Bowls. The 80% power instruction amuses me—microwaves do vary—but it worked for us. If you know your microwave is weak, go full-strength!

We used one squash for the two of us, mounding the filling high. If you do have extra filling, it would be lovely inside an omelet. The original recipe called for loosening the squash flesh with a fork, then adding the filling directly to the squash; on a repeat, we’d do as we did with the Stuffed Squash Bowls, and scoop out the innards, adding them to the pot with the other ingredients to mix and heat thoroughly. 

These dears are both gluten-free and vegetarian. Of course, they’re not vegetarian if you serve them with grilled chicken, as we did! 

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped 
3 cups fresh spinach, about 3-4 generous handfuls
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces cream cheese
½ cup marinated artichokes, drained 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Pierce the squash all over with a knife and place on a plate or other microwave-safe dish. Cook on 80% power for 10 minutes; turn over and cook another 10 minutes, or until a knife slips in easily. Cut in half to cool slightly, and scoop out and discard the seeds. 

Meanwhile, in a 6 quart saucepan, warm the olive oil and saute the shallot for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the spinach and salt, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Scoop the innards out of the squash halves, being careful not to damage the skin, and add to the pot. Add the cream cheese, artichokes, Parmesan, zest, and black pepper. Stir until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. 

Heat your broiler. Divide spinach mixture in the squash halves and broil on high until browned on top, 3-4 minutes.

Enjoy!











From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.


Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher. 

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Around the kitchen table with the authors at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen



LINDA: We're back at the kitchen table and you know, we're having a lot of fun doing this monthly joint blog. From your responses, it seems that most of you are enjoying it also. We certainly hope that's the case.Today, our topic is one that is especially dear to my heart, what do you cook when you don't feel like cooking?

If I'm in that no-cooking frame of mind and ravenous, I opt for cheese (I usually have several varieties on hand at any given time), bread or crackers, and some wine. Ideal, tasty, easy and fast. But if I can hold off several minutes, I'll do a grilled cheese sandwich using my panini maker. As I mentioned, I always have some cheese on hand and these days, following a tip from fellow MLK Mary Jane Maffini, I slice a green apple to add to the grilled cheese. It adds a satisfying crispness and acidity to this old standby.

I will admit that it's easier to opt not to cook for those who don't have to worry about any other mouths to feed. I sometimes take it one step further, and like Lynn Johnston, the creator of that wonderful cartoon strip For Better or Worse, admits to doing now that she's on her own -- I eat, standing up at the kitchen counter. How freeing is that. And healthy, too, the standing up part.
The key phrase is: no cooking, no clean-up. Now, that's easy.


LESLIE: You mean, besides order pizza? Back when when one of the local restaurants had a take-out fridge, I picked up ribs for Mr. Right and crab cakes for me one evening, and mentioned to the chef-owner that I just didn't feel like cooking. He replied that he never felt that way -- which clearly means he had the right job!

On those nights, our go-to is usually spaghetti and meatballs. A couple of times a year, Mr. Right makes a good-sized batch of meatballs, using ground sirloin, Parmesan, Panko breadcrumbs, and red pepper flakes. He wraps them in plastic, 4-6 in a package, and tosses them all in a Zip-loc in the freezer. Heat the meatballs in the microwave, boil up some pasta, open a jar of marinara sauce and a bottle of red wine, and voila -- dinner!

But I do miss Chef Neil's crab cakes!

LUCY: Oh how I love grilled cheese--I've started adding sliced avocados, and the last time I made this, used both Swiss cheese and some fresh mozzarella. I make these in a frying pan with a little butter and olive oil--delicious! And we love crab cakes too, Leslie! And are fortunate to have a wonderful fish market in Key West that makes them to die for.

But if it's summertime, and the tomatoes are in season, my go-to no-cook recipe is chunks of tomatoes marinated with fresh mozzarella chunks, strips of fresh basil, red pepper flakes, and good olive oil. When it's time for dinner, cook the best pasta (I order from Eataly), sprinkle with parmesan, and dump on the tomatoes. Heaven, and so easy! (If you aren't worried about sodium, a few kalamata olives are a good addition too.)

SHEILA: My husband takes the easy way out: he makes Breakfast for Dinner, which is bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast or English muffins. My grandmother, who never learned to cook, settled for cereal and ice cream for supper (a real treat when my sister and I were kids!). Me, I have the most ridiculously well-stocked pantry I've ever seen, but there are days when I can't figure out what I want (well, maybe a French chef to drop in and throw together something, and of course clean up afterwards).


I'm fond of marinades and rubs, and things like fish which cook quickly, or spatchcocked chicken that I can just stick on a pan and bake for a while. But the most recent go-to meal is pasta. These days our market is carrying nice fresh ravioli and tortellini, which are easy (boil water, add pasta, drain--then fancy it up with whatever you have on hand) and taste really good.

LESLIE: Is there anyone who doesn't occasionally love breakfast for dinner? I was probably forty before I realized that when my mother made it for us as kids, it was usually because she felt a little in need of comforting herself!


 VICTORIA/AKA MJ

The old jokes goes like this:  'Question What's the best things she makes for dinner?  Answer: Reservations. Sometimes, that's fun, but more often I don't feel going out any more than I feel like cooking. That 'don't feel like cooking thing' comes on quickly.  My favorite rescue is a quick saute with garlic, parsley, lemon and raw peeled shrimp.  From freezer to ta table takes just a few minutes. This is so easy and it feels special.



But if it's confession time and it's just us friends here, then I'll admit that sometimes I heat up a can of mushroom soup and hide the evidence.  I may also be wearing pyjamas.  Shhh.

DARYL:

Lucy, I can never thank you enough for introducing me to Eataly. Whenever I go to NY, I have to stop in!  It's such a phenomenal store!  Linda, I, too, always have cheese around and gluten-free bread in the freezer. I love my panini grill!!! So that's definitely a good easy choice. I love cheese and wine and some sliced veggies or fruit as a meal. Simple. Slice it. Set the goodies on a napkin. Wash the knife. Done.  I'm all for taking whatever is in the fridge and making a smorgasbord, too.  Hardboiled egg, some lettuce with a drizzle of dressing, slices of cheese, and hopefully I have an avocado. When in doubt and out of everything in the refrigerator, scrambled eggs!  This [see picture] is a pretty pathetic looking empty refrigerator, isn't it? Guess what I ate last night?  LOL  FYI, I don't like to eat standing up. I still like a meal where I sit and listen to the news or go outside and listen to the birds or read a book. It depends on my mood.

KRISTA:
I confess that I'm a sandwich girl when I'm being lazy. Ham, or tuna, or peanut butter and jam are what I reach for when I want a quick and easy dinner. I have been known to make omelets or German pancakes, so I guess I do breakfast for dinner sometimes, too. Not very chic, but true.


CLEO: Marc and I are sandwich fans, too, Krista. We like to do Italian cold cuts with fresh lettuce, tomato, and banana peppers piled on crusty rolls. Or we'll put slices of salami on a plate with fresh mozzarella and drizzle it all with olive oil. Hot dogs are another quickie meal for us, and we have fun tarting them up with chopped onions and relish, or a bit of leftover chili or taco meat. Marc's Danger Dogs, on the stove or on the grill, are always guilty pleasures. Fast Tex-Mex is a quesadilla with whatever cheese is on hand with salsa and sour cream. And there's always good old peanut butter with honey, jam, or bananas for a no-fuss, no cook meal. Fun post and great ideas all!


PEG
I'm getting some great ideas from you guys! Sheila, spatchcocking a chicken and baking it is not "not cooking."  Just an FYI.  If I'm going to "sort of" cook I'll do pasta with clam sauce.  Saute garlic in olive oil, throw in two cans of chopped clams, heat and eat. If you want to get real fancy, add some chopped parsley.  But "not cooking" does not include washing and chopping parsley in my opinion.  I can't do pasta sauce in a jar--just can't. Unless it's Rao's but if I'm buying that I might as well buy a steak!  The price!  If I'm really not cooking and there aren't any leftovers in the freezer, I'll make us BLTs. 




How about you? 

What do you cook when you don't feel like cooking?

Let us know in the comments below...






Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Green Onion and Cabbage Slaw


LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Mr. Right loves tacos. Loves them. Simply loves them. In fact, I lost my status as a picky eater about a dozen years ago when we were in a small town on the west coast of Mexico, south of Puerto Vallarta, and the restaurant we had planned to go to was closed. So we ate street tacos and drank beer from cans—on my birthday. I loved it.

These are not those tacos, but they are totally yummy. You certainly could saute some ground beef with onion or shred some chicken and add it to the black bean mixture.

Frying the tortillas ever so slightly gives these a flavor I can only describe as golden and delicious. I admit a certain fear of frying, but the amount of oil here is minimal. The trick is to get the oil the right heat, so the tortilla immediately starts to puff and brown when you add it. Too low, and it will absorb the oil; if the pan is too hot and sizzles when you add the tortilla, lift the pan and lower the heat, then resume, fearlessly. Check with the old trick of sticking the tip of the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil; if the oil bubbles or sizzles slightly, it's just right!
Roux the Day (A Dinner Club Mystery) by [Wiken, Linda]
Tequila or cerveza optional!

Congratulations to Linda Wiken on the publication today of ROUX THE DAY, a Dinner Club Mystery!

Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Green Onion and Cabbage Slaw

For the tacos:
1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper

For the slaw:
1 small head purple cabbage, finely shredded
1 small or ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup green onions, diced (including green stems)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 serrano chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ cup pure olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper

olive oil
4 white or yellow corn tortillas, 8 inch
1/3 cup feta or queso, crumbled
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salsa, not sauce, or sriracha

Place beans in a small bowl; stir in cumin, oregano, and cayenne and partially mash. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the cabbage and red onion in a large bowl and stir.

Blend green onions, vinegar, chiles, mayonnaise, lime juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a blender or in a bowl using an immersion blender until emulsified.  Add to the cabbage and onion mixture. Stir in the cilantro and season to taste.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Lay in one tortilla. Spoon in 1/4 cup bean mixture. Cook one minute. Fold in half. Cook until golden brown, about one minute, and turn to the other side, cooking one more minute. Remove to a plate and add slaw, feta, and additional cilantro, and repeat with additional tacos. (Fry up one per person to start; if you want more than one -- and you likely will -- you'll need a little more oil before frying up the second batch.)

Serve with salsa or hot sauce.

Makes 4.










 


Enjoy!

From the cover of KILLING THYME (October 2016, in paperback, e-book, and audio---large print coming soon!): 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. after Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?


Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The 2015-16 president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.