Showing posts with label Lucy Burdette. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucy Burdette. Show all posts

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Crockpot "Roast" Chicken #recipe @Lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: I roast a chicken fairly frequently, because it’s easy and it’s delicious and there is usually enough left over to make a second meal. But I had two complaints. First of all that roasting skin makes a mess in the oven! (I know, first world problem.) And second, I would never feel comfortable walking away from the house with the chicken in the oven. 

I’d been seeing crockpot roasted chickens on Pinterest, and thought it would be a good time to try one. We were visiting our daughter, and planned it to be out on excursions during the day, and did not want to have to cook when we got back at night. I made the recipe a second time in my own crockpot, This time using using the Browning feature first and setting The temperature too high. The recipe is very flexible – use what other vegetables you prefer under the chicken. The only one that we felt did not turn out well was the sweet potato.Ingredients1 1/2 to 2 pounds organic chicken
3 to 4 carrots
Three stalks of celery
One rutabaga
One large onion
Two bay leaves
Smoked paprica, garlic salt, or other no salt seasoning

Pinch of salt if desired

Clean, peel, and chunk the vegetables, and place them at the bottom of the crockpot. Place the whole chicken on top of the vegetables. (I like tucking carrots and onions into the cavity for extra flavor.) Sprinkle your dry seasonings on top of this chicken. Cook on low for 6 1/2 to 7 hours or on high for 4 1/2.

Serve with your favorite roast chicken accompaniments, such as mashed potatoes or buttered noodles, with the cooked vegetables on the side. The only thing you will be missing is the crispy skin! And by the way, the extra liquid in the pot is a delicious addition to chicken soup etc. 

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...DEATH ON THE MENU will be in bookstores on August 7!

Here's a pre-order the book link from Amazon--and here's a link to preorder a hard copy from RJ Julia in CT, where you'll be able to get a signed copy. Or you can order it from Books and Books in Key West, or call Suzanne Orchard at Key West Island Bookstore ((305) 294-2904)--she'll be delighted to order you a copy! Or really, wherever books are sold...

Monday, February 5, 2018

Around Our Kitchen Table: Food Mystery Mentors + book #giveaway

Today we welcome you to sit and chat with us around our kitchen table. Read all the way to the bottom for the super giveaway we're offering...

Lucy Burdette: I’ve been thinking about how food has become such a major part of my character’s life—and hence my Key West food critic mystery series—that it’s hard to imagine not including it in a book. And I’m certain that writing about food and creating recipes for the series and for this blog has helped me become a better cook. It’s been life-changing...

How did I even get started down this path? I can point to Diane Mott Davidson’s series starring Goldy the caterer as a major influence. I loved reading about how Goldy cooked—so effortlessly. And then how her new cop husband took care of her by baking special treats, creating homey dinners, and making her delicious coffee. I inhaled the food in these books! Food was love, and that’s how my character Hayley Snow thinks about it, too. (And so you can imagine how thrilled I was to have a quote from Diane Mott Davidson on my first Key West book...)


Writers, how did you get started writing culinary mysteries? Can you point to a certain influence?

Sheila Connolly: Everyone eats, right? So food--both making and consuming--is a common thread that links us all.

Diane Mott Davidson was one of the first cozy mystery writers I ever read, and when I went to a signing of hers, rather than her book I asked her to autograph one of her recipes. I watched Julia Child give a cooking demonstration in San Francisco, and I dedicated a book to Alice Waters. I've been a foodie since before the term was invented!

Then it hit me: Nero Wolfe! The main character in Rex Stout's series who was more interested the the menu for his next exquisite meal than in solving the crime at hand. I bought the Nero Wolfe Cookbook (which Stout is said to have supervised carefully so it remains true to the series) when it was released, and I have used it regularly for decades.

Oddly enough, many of the main characters that I've written don't cook, or no more than enough to keep themselves alive, but there's almost always a friend or sidekick who cooks.


Denise Swanson: Not all of my main characters cook, but they all like to eat. In my Scumble River series, Skye has learned to cook, in my Devereaux's Dime Store series, Dev has no interest in learning, But in my new Chef-to-Go series Dani Sloan has always loved puttering around the kitchen and finally gets to fulfill her dream of becoming a chef.

I'm betting nearly all mystery writers who write culinary cozies were influenced by Diane Mott Davidson. I LOVE her books and her recipes. But I was really influenced to write a culinary mystery series by all the television cooking programs. I watch Hell's Kitchen, Iron Chef, Chopped, Top Chef, all the baking shows, and, yes, even the America's Worst Cooks. 



I'd been writing unsold mysteries for years when I shifted gears to write my first published book, Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure. After that, I didn't know what was next, but in my heart I was still a mystery writer. The culinary mystery had begun to emerge--including books by some of my friends--and I devoured them! We'd also just taken a month-long trip to France, which completely changed our relationship to eating and cooking. Krista, Daryl, and Peg were the fairy godmothers of my first published mystery, Death al Dente, reviewing the proposal and helping me find an agent and editor.

I, too, was inspired by Diane Mott Davidson's Goldie series, not just for the food, but because she recognized that the cozy could be about something serious. She incorporated social justice issues into the mystery. Later, I discovered Cleo's Coffeehouse Mysteries and saw that she did something similar, inspiring me to weave issues related to homelessness, domestic abuse, and immigration into my Spice Shop series, along with the food and fun. The cozy really can do it all!


Linda Wiken: In case you hadn't heard, and I'm happy to share this information whenever I talk about my Dinner Club Mysteries, my character JJ Tanner and I share one very huge trait. We both love cookbooks, and magazines, especially the one with color photos. Now, if that cookbook features cooking from another country along with information on the setting and culinary culture, I'm doubly in.

That's what sparked my interest in writing a cozy culinary series. I wasn't, and still am not, a great cook. But I love reading about something new and especially, combinations of different tastes. As does, JJ. Who knows, perhaps one day we'll both shine in the kitchen.

My inspirations have been the many delicious cozy series and, like Denise, the food programs on TV. I subscribe to the Food Network and spend a portion of my daily viewing time enjoying the shows. Cooks vs Cons is a favorite. And, don't forget those magazines -- Food and Wine, Taste of Italia, and Bon Appetit to name a few.


Daryl Wood Gerber: The foodie genre sort of picked me. My first attempt at writing a mystery was a Nancy Drew mystery, way back when. That was when I was a girl and it has since disappeared. Go figure! LOL Mom was quite discerning in regards to my baby book content. When I really applied myself, I cranked out a few standalone mysteries, but the agent who liked my work said she couldn’t sell “those.” She needed something with more of a "hook"—a series. I put together a number of proposals for her, but those didn’t satisfy her, either. Then Berkley Publishing approached her with a concept for a cheese shop mystery. She asked if I wanted to audition to write it. I'd catered. I'd run restaurants. I was a cook. I loved cheese--the basics. Sure! So I auditioned and got the job. That’s when I turned to writing cozy mysteries, writing The Cheese Shop Mysteries as Avery Aames. I immersed myself in the world of cheese and found that I wrote about cheese and food well. And so I continue to write other food themed mysteries: the Cookbook Nook Mysteries and the French Bistro Mysteries. By the way, to write about French food, I had to do a lot of TASTY research. I'm a better cook because of it. 


Krista Davis: Hmm, which came first? The food or the mystery? Food was a big deal in my family. My parents were immigrants and I have noticed that even while they are assimilating and trying out hot dogs and apple pie, most immigrants seek out the dishes they remember from home. Anyone recall the moussaka scene in the lunchroom in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?

While I was chowing down on my mom's delicious cooking, I was addicted to mysteries. So when the idea for the Domestic Diva Mysteries arose, it seemed like a natural to me. What could be better than a mystery with food?

I have to say that writing culinary mysteries and Mystery Lovers' Kitchen have made me a much better cook. You wouldn't believe how fast you run out of your go-to and family recipes when you have to post one every week!

Like Denise, I love watching cooking shows. My mom was devoted to Julia Child, so I began watching them long before there were channels devoted solely to food. But having to come up with new recipes all the time for books and Mystery Lovers Kitchen has made me even more aware of food. I think I might be a little bit too interested in people's favorite recipes and delicious meals that I have when eating out.

Cleo Coyle: Krista, like you, I grew up in a family with strong food traditions, and I can also relate to My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Italian-style)! As for the link between food and fiction, it really began for me back in the early 1980s with the late, great author and screenwriter Nora Ephron. When I read Ms. Ephron's novel HeartburnI loved that she included recipes and food talk as part of her storytelling. Learning from Ms. Ephron, I try to do the same with my Coffeehouse Mysteries, which I write with my husband, using foods, drinks, and recipes to explore and express character, setting, and story. 

Nora’s book was published back in 1983, long before the current culinary mystery trend, but there was another work, published even earlier (1976), that also left an impression on me: Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe. Do any of you remember the screwball comedy film that was based on the book? Well, that book was penned by married collaborators Nan and Ivan Lyons. A married couple writing fun, foodie fiction seemed like a delicious prospect to me, even though writing is a crazy way to make a living. I'm just lucky my future husband turned out to be a guy willing to take a wild, collaborative ride—and he turned out to be a pretty darn good cook, too! ~ Cleo

We have a fabulous giveaway to go with today's post--copies of Daryl's upcoming release PRESSING THE ISSUE (Feb 20, might take a week or so to get this), Krista's upcoming COLOR ME MURDER, and Sheila's latest release, MANY A TWIST. Plus an MLK tote bag!

Leave a comment about how you got started reading foodie mysteries to be entered in the drawing...
the winner will be announced on Friday.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Death on the Menu Mojito #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Before visiting Cuba a few years ago, I had never tasted a Mojito, never mind made one. But now it's one of my favorite drinks. And it's great for a celebration, such as the new cover for DEATH ON THE MENU! Isn't it pretty? I especially love the Harry S. Truman Little White House in the background.

In this eighth food critic mystery--coming August 7, we are introduced to a Key West/Havana conference that Hayley Snow's mother is catering (with lots of help from her friends!) One of the themes of the weekend is Hemingway, and mojitos are said to be one of his favorite drinks.

Here's my recipe. The key of course is the fresh mint--it helps to have a pot growing on the balcony!


one lime, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
4 to 5 sprigs mint per glass
2 teaspoons sugar
1 to 2 ounces rum, depending on how strong you want the drink
Club soda

Start by crushing several slices of lime, several slices of lemon, the mint, and 2 teaspoons of sugar in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Add the rum and stir. Fill the glass with ice. Fill the ice with club soda or a sparkling water like Pellegrino. Mix and add a splash of bitters on top.

Here's a pre-order the book link from Amazon--and here's a link to preorder a hard copy from RJ Julia in CT, where you'll be able to get a signed copy. Or you can order it from Books and Books in Key West, or call Suzanne Orchard at Key West Island Bookstore ((305) 294-2904)--she'll be delighted to order you a copy! Or really, wherever books are sold...

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...DEATH ON THE MENU will be in bookstores on August 7!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Coconut Cream Birthday Cake #recipe @lucyburdette

Birthday girls by Bill Carito
Lucy Burdette: I don’t mind sharing a birthday celebration, in fact I like it. I trace this back to my experience growing up. My older sister Sue (older by 11 months, two weeks) and I shared our January celebrations. We often had a joint party, though maybe we had individual cakes on the actual day? I don't remember for sure.

This year and last year, I was pleased to share birthdays with my friend Barbara Ross, who reaches all the milestones eight days before I do. This year I promised to make this coconut cake. However, I got sick and couldn’t attend the dinner nor make the cake. My solution was to make a cake for our two birthdays together. The rub was, I had a good old friend visiting who loathes coconut. So I made a coconut cream cake, only sprinkling the coconut on the icing so I could leave a little section coconut free. (You will note the little toothpicks which are used to remind myself not to put coconut on this triangle of cake. It turns out at this age, I can agree to do something with myself and forget it instantly, so I decided a physical reminder would help.)

This cake is found in Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. I changed a few things around, like making the coconut unsweetened – the cake was plenty sweet anyway. And I added some chopped strawberries between the layers and strawberries on top for color and decorations. When I put the batter into the pan, I was worried. It did not fill up the pans as many batters do. It also came out looking quite flat. But after the whipped cream and strawberries and coconut were added, it was beautiful, and everyone agreed, delicious!

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder, low-sodium for me
1/4 teaspoon salt
Three eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whipping cream

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
Shredded or flaked organic coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease the pans, followed by inserting rounds of parchment paper. Stir together the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat the cream to stiff peaks, using a KitchenAid or handheld mixer. 

three sets of ingredients
And the egg/vanilla mixture and beat that in briefly. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the flour disappears.
nice fluffy batter

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned and the cake springs back when touched.

uh-oh, not covering bottom of pan

Cool the cakes completely. (I made these the day before and covered them with plastic wrap.)

a little skinny

Beat the cream with confectioner's sugar until stiff. 

Spread whipped cream on the bottom layer, sprinkle this with coconut flakes and chopped strawberries. 

Settle the second layer on top and again, sprinkle with coconut and decorate with strawberries.
note the toothpicks demarcating coconut-free zone

Make sure to refrigerate if you are not serving this right away, and refrigerate leftovers if you have any. I can’t emphasize how good this cake tasted and how fast it disappeared!

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...DEATH ON THE MENU will be in bookstores on August 7! Here's a pre-order the book link from Amazon--and here's a link to preorder a hard copy from RJ Julia in CT, where you'll be able to get a signed copy. I'll post others as they appear. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Baked Beans a la @lucyburdette #recipe

 LUCY BURDETTE: I love baked beans, any kind, even straight out of the can. My Aunt Barbara used to make some killer beans that we loved, baked with bacon and onions covering the top of the dish. Oh heaven! But of course they are loaded with sodium (and sugar probably too) and so not on my diet. But I figured I could make a batch that would be very tasty while leaving out the parts that aren’t very healthy. 

You will get to see my newest, new obsession in this recipe. It’s a vegetable based Sriracha with medium heat, no mystery ingredients. 

This is another recipe that is very flexible – take the measurements that I gave you and then taste as you make the sauce and adjust as meets your taste buds. More syrup or molasses? Or hot sauce? More or less vinegar or mustard? You be the judge.


Three cans low-sodium organic pinto beans (feel free to swap out for another kind of beans)
2/3 cup no salt ketchup
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons good mustard
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tsp Sriracha or to taste
One large onion, chopped

Chop the onion and sauté it in a little olive oil until soft and beginning to brown. Mix the other ingredients together (not including the beans) and taste just to see what needs to be added.

Add the sauce to the onions and simmer for a few minutes. 

Dump the cans of beans into a strainer in the sink and rinse them. Stir the beans into the sauce. You can either heat them up right on the stove or put them in the oven for half an hour while your ribs heat up! Next time I think I might add a second onion and also chop up a green pepper for a little extra zip.

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...DEATH ON THE MENU will be in bookstores on August 7!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Around the Kitchen Table and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Sometimes a new year brings changes and that's the case for Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. We're waving a teary farewell to Victoria Abbott. We hope she'll still drop by once in a while to tell us what she's doing. On a happier note, today we're welcoming Denise Swanson to the kitchen. Many of you know Denise from her beloved Scumble River Mysteries. She has a tasty new series coming, too. But we'll let her tell you all about that!

Today on Around the Kitchen Table, we're chatting about our "possibilities" for the upcoming year and maybe give you a few insights into what is coming up in the publishing world.

One commenter will win this cute Around the Kitchen with MLK authors tote bag. See giveaway below.

From Daryl:  Well, the publishing world turned a bit topsy-turvy this past year. I lost two contracts, but I gained two new ones. So as I  keep a positive mental attitude about what the future may hold, I continue to write and drum up new characters. I love living with my characters. They bring me joy. They help me problem solve. I find wonderful resolution solving cases and serving up justice to the "bad guy." What's coming for me this year?  The 6th Cookbook Nook Mystery, PRESSING THE ISSUE, will come out in February. Because this is through a new publisher, it will have a different look and the paper version will only be available on Amazon, through print on demand. I hope that won't put you off. It's still the same gang of characters and set in Crystal Cove. The Renaissance Fair  has come to town and Bailey is planning her wedding at a vineyard, hence the title using the word: pressing (grapes).  I don't have the cover yet, but it will be available SOON. In June, the paperback version of the first French Bistro Mystery, A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, comes out. In July, you'll see the release of the 2nd French Bistro Mystery, SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION. Better get my PR dancing shoes ready!


From Krista:  Those of you who aren't involved in the publishing business might not know that one publisher decided to cut back on cozy mysteries, and another cut them altogether. We have lived through some turbulent times! I'm pleased to say that I have a new series, the Pen and Ink Mysteries. By day, Florrie Fox manages a bookstore and by night, she's creates adult coloring books. She's a doodler, too, and doodles the clues she's thinking about. You can find them on the cover of the book, which can be colored! COLOR ME MURDER will be released on February 27th.

The Domestic Divas have moved to a new publisher and will be back on May 29th in THE DIVA COOKS UP A STORM. Sophie and friends are back (including Natasha). When a neighbor dies under odd circumstances, everything points toward his wife as the killer. Sophie is the only one who can't believe this woman killed her husband. But is she right?

I am also happy to announce that the ink is drying on a new contract for two more Wagtail books!


From Sheila: Once upon a time, in a universe far, far away, the publishing world was simple. It was made up of a handful of long-established and well-respected publishers, and any new writer's dream was to be accepted by one of them. But then the Internet was invented and things changed. And even those of us who were published by the Big Six (and then the Big Five) were sometimes orphaned. It happened to a lot of talented people. Publishing is a business, and decisions were based on sales numbers, not whether we were talented, hardworking writers.

But the good news is, we at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen have survived, and we've found new publishing homes, or in some cases created our own. We write because we love to write, so we're still writing. I will miss some of the characters from series that did not go on, but I can have some of them drop into new series, or I can go ahead and publish more books in a series myself. There are a lot of opportunities these days.

The County Cork Mysteries have been picked up by Crooked Lane Books, and the newest one, Many a Twist, will come out this month. I've got a new series coming from St. Martin's Press: the Victorian Village Mysteries, starting with Murder at the Mansion, which will appear in June--and that's where some of the characters from the Museum Mysteries will appear now and then. I'm planning to continue the Orchard Mysteries with Beyond the Page Publishing in the fall, and the Relatively Dead series as well.

Our characters become our friends, and a part of our lives. We can't just let them disappear, so we find new ways to get their stories into our readers' hands. We hope you'll continue to enjoy their company.


From Peg: You know the saying, when one door closes, another opens. As those posting before me have already said, the publishing world is changing...again. Nothing is a constant in today's world. But I'm pleased to say that a lot of new opportunities have opened up as well!  I'll be continuing my Cranberry Cove series with Beyond the Page--like Daryl and Sheila with two of their series. I'm also debuting a brand new historical mystery series, Murder, She Reported, with the Alibi imprint of Random House. It will be ebook only. It's a new profit model for writers, and I'm excited to see how things turn out! The series is set in 1938 NYC and my protagonist, Elizabeth"Biz" Adams, is a debutante turned crime photographer for the Daily Trumpet. The first book comes out on July 31.  I will also continue my Lucille Series for at least one more book--when Lucille and family and friends go to Italy and have fun with gondolas in Venice, motorbikes in Rome and a close encounter with Michelangelo's David in Florence!  Wishing you lots of exciting possibilities in the year to come!


LESLIE: Like my blog sisters, I too was affected last year by the post-merger decision of Penguin Random House, home to Berkley Books, where we all started our mystery careers, to significantly cut paperback original fiction. (Not just cozies and not just mystery; it was a business model change, not a reflection on sales or on readers' tastes or buying habits.) As a lawyer, I can understand those changes; as a creator, I know how they can mess with the mind. Fortunately, I can cook and soothe my sore head and twisted tummy with tasty food! My Food Lovers' Village Mysteries moved to Midnight Ink, and the 5th, As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles, will be out in June 2018. I've got a lot of proverbial irons in the proverbial fire---and I'm looking forward to a smokin' New Year!


LINDA: Okay, you've heard it all before, the news about the topsy-turvy publishing world. I look around at the demise of series written by friends, series I was hooked on, and think, what's going on! Obviously, I wasn't consulted. Nor was I consulted about my own series. The third book in the Dinner Club Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, MARINATING IN MURDER, comes out in March, 2018 but I'm sad to report, that series  has not as yet been renewed, and I don't expect it to be. I'm happy to report though, that I'm writing a new series for a new publisher, Crooked Lane, where a number of us has happily landed. It's called the Castle Bookstore Mysteries and the first one (working title is The Body at the Blye) appears in Nov., 2018 and along with the new everything, I'm a new person, too. Hope you'll make note of the name Essie Lang, that's me, and that's who's now immersed in the life of bookstore co-owner, Malin Stahr, and the day to day business of bookselling, and murder, in spectacular Blye Castle, on Blye Island in the Thousand Islands. Here's to great reading adventures for us all in the New Year!


LUCY: I too have found a new home with Crooked Lane, this for two more books in the Key West food critic mystery series. DEATH ON THE MENU will be out on August 7, and I'm busy writing #9. After that, who knows? I have two other projects in the works that are not cozy mysteries. Hopefully I can get them in readable shape and find homes for both. I look forward to many more books from my friends at MLK--and we are so grateful for you, our readers and friends!

CLEO: Marc and I have been writing professionally for decades and non-professionally (as a vocation) since we were children. What we know for sure about this sort of life is that nothing is sure. When we entered the publishing business, it was described as a volatile landscape, full of seismic changes—that was more than thirty years ago. And so it goes. With few exceptions, the artist’s life has more in common with a roller coaster than a carousel (which explains why you sometimes see authors throwing up hands and screaming). Our philosophy: never lose your love of storytelling; make friends with risk (there are virtues in it); try not to take yourself too seriously; and always be game for a wild ride. For now, our ride is continuing with our longtime publisher, and we sincerely thank our readers (along with so many kind booksellers and librarians) for the priceless treasure of their support. If you are among them, we hope you will continue to enjoy our upcoming works. Our 17th Coffeehouse Mystery will be published in April, read more about it here. Our 18th is now underway and scheduled for release next year; and our 6th Haunted Bookshop Mystery finally has a firm pub date of October 2, 2018 (and will be available for pre-order soon). If you'd like to keep in touch, subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss updates to our writing life. Whether you read our works or that of our co-bloggers, we thank ALL READERS for supporting your favorite authors. You can give us no better gift. We wish you all a happy, healthy, and industrious New Year!


And from our newest writer, Denise Swanson: Happy 2018! It's wonderful to begin the new year with a new project and joining Mystery Lovers' Kitchen has got to be one of the most fun. Like many of my fellow cozy mystery writers, 2017 brought a LOT of changes for me. After 17 years and 25 books, I left Penguin Random House. And in September my new publisher, Sourcesbooks, debuted a reboot of my long-running Scumble River series, dubbing it Welcome Back to Scumble River. While the titles are no longer Murder of a.... and the covers are markedly different, the characters and setting are exactly the same. In my most recent book, Dead in the Water, Skye experiences a tornado, a kidnapping, and she gives birth!

April of 2018 will bring about my new culinary mystery series, Chef-to-Go. In the first book, Tart of Darkness, you'll meet Dani Sloan a former HR consultant and the brand new owner of the Chef-to-Go culinary business. She and her three boarders, college girls from the nearby university, immediately get elbow deep in a murder.

My third series, the Dime Store mysteries are on hiatus for a year. I may bring them to another publisher or I may publish them myself, but Dev and the gang will continue to solve mysteries in Shadow Bend, MO.


Victoria Abbott Well, it's good-bye from me and alter ego Mary Jane Maffini. We are still hoping to have more book collector mysteries following all the turbulence in the industry. MJ is finishing the seventh in her Canadian Camilla MacPhee series and we have several projects in the planning stages. Sign up for our newsletter if you want to stay in the loop. Just click here

We have loved being part of Mystery Lovers Kitchen and the fabulous group of friends and readers here and we'll be popping to get recipes and the news. You will really enjoy having Denise Swanson here 'in the kitchen'. I know you'll welcome her with open arms.


Leave a comment and tell us what are you looking forward to this coming year. 
Remember to include your email so we can contact you if you win the tote bag.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Pecan Pie Bars #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: We were attending a holiday potluck party and my responsibility was some kind of cookies. I decided this was an opportunity to try pecan pie bars, which would be festive but also easier than making dozens of cookies. I looked at a number of recipes and decided to try one from Life Tastes GoodI made a few tweaks, cutting the salt and subbing some brown sugar for white.

The recipe is not very difficult and it makes a lot. But warning, it’s very very sweet! So cut your bars small. 


3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter

For the topping:

Four eggs
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
One and a half cups sugar (I decided to use a half cup brown sugar and a cup of white)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
One and a half teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups pecans, broken into pieces

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in your food processor. Cut the cold butter into small chunks and with the machine running, feed them into the dry ingredients. This should all begin to hold together a little like pie crust.

Cover a 11 by 15 inch sheet pan with parchment paper so the paper hangs out the sides. (The paper will stick better if you grease the pan, then lay the parchment on top.) Dump the shortbread mixture into the pan and spread it evenly. Bake this for 20 minutes at 350.

Crust baked and ready for action!

While the crust bakes, whip the eggs in your food processor and then add the other ingredients up to pecans. Fold in the lightly broken pecans. When the shortbread crust has baked, remove the pan from the oven and pour in the filling. Spread the pecans evenly over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until nothing jiggles.

ready to bake

Let the pan of bars cool completely before lifting the bars out of the pan with the parchment overhang. Place them on a large cutting board and divide them into individual squares. Store in the refrigerator or freeze them for your party!

Finished bars

Merry Christmas and happy all holidays to our readers and friends!

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Lucy Burdette's Holiday Pumpkin Pie #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE: Christmas is different in Key West than it is in New England. Of course, I miss the snow (a little) and ice (not really) and a trip to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center (a lot!) But on the other hand, we have palm trees and lights! 

When thinking over holiday recipes, I wondered why pumpkin pie had to be confined to Thanksgiving. And I decided it didn't!

You would think pumpkin pie should be a slam-dunk recipe. But there are many questions out there. Pre-bake the crust? Don’t bake the crust? Evaporated milk? Sweetened condensed milk? Whipped cream? I studied four or five of them and chose what looked like the best options. I wanted a little maple flavor and also to jazz the pie up with my beloved chai spice.

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
Scant tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chilled cream cheese
3 tablespoons water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a food processor. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse until you have small crumbles. Don’t overdo this. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the crust barely holds together. (You will think you haven’t added enough, but you will!)

Dump the dough onto a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and gather it together, then press into a disk. Refrigerate for an hour or more. (This is a good time to make the filling.) 

Roll the crust out between two sheets of waxed paper, trying not to overwork it. Peel off the top piece of paper and lower the crust into your 9 inch pan. Bake for about 40 minutes until the crust seems done, just browning around the edges and golden all over.

in the food processor

gather into a ball

roll and pinch the edges

bake with pie weights

ready for filling!

For the Pie filling:

One can organic pumpkin
1/2 cup good maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon chai spice or plain cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
Three eggs
1 1/4 cup evaporated milk

Whip the pumpkin with the two sweeteners, the milk, and the spice, and taste to see if it’s sweet enough for your crowd. Add a little more if needed. Then beat in the flour and the three eggs until the filling is smooth.

Carefully pour this mixture into the hot pie crust. (This is the hardest part of the recipe.) You should have the pie pan on a sheet pan in case of spills or drips. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then check to see if the crust is too brown. If it is, fold some thin strips of aluminum foil to cover the crust. Bake until set, that is, barely jiggly, probably 50-60 minutes.

Cool to room temperature and either serve as is or refrigerate overnight. Serve with freshly made whipped cream, I like a teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of whipped cream maple syrup in mine!

so pretty out of the oven

but of course it sinks a bit later

Merry Christmas and happy all holidays to our readers and friends!

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...