Showing posts with label Murder with Ganache. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Murder with Ganache. Show all posts

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Murder with Ganache and Nocciolato Fudge #recipe for #BookClubs #books

LUCY BURDETTE: Welcome to Book Club Week at MLK! I love book clubs--love belonging and love visiting. And I love recommending books for clubs to consider:). This time around I’d like to suggest MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth in the Key West food critic mystery series.

MWG is a cozy mystery starring Hayley Snow, a food critic who lives on a houseboat in Key West. Her extended family is descending on the island like a category 3 hurricane for her best friend's wedding. When her stepbrother disappears into the spring break party scene, she must put the baking of cupcakes and other wedding chores on hold in order to search for her brother. The book features Hemingway cats, and cupcakes, and wedding drama, but in the end it's about finding and embracing family in whatever form they come.

If you are going to choose MURDER WITH GANACHE for one of your book club selections this year (and I hope you will--I love this book, and there are so many things to talk about), as the hostess, you must resign yourself to providing something chocolate. 

You might choose hot fudge pie or chocolate cake, both swoon-worthy, but here is an easy alternative. This recipe began as Chocolate Nutella Fudge from the Tasty Kitchen--until I read the list of ingredients on the Nutella package. At that point, thinking there must be something better, I searched for a substitute, and found an organic chocolate-hazelnut spread that is really quite incredible.

Nocciolato Fudge


1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (make these good quality, as it will show)
1 cup Nocciolato (organic chocolate-hazelnut Spread--I used the whole 9.5 oz jar)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon sea salt or pink salt


To make the fudge:

Line an 8 by 8 inch pan with two layers of parchment paper, overlap on the sides.

In a stainless steel bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, chocolate chips, hazelnut spread, and butter.

Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. (The pan should not touch the water.)

Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into the papered pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with sea salt. (I would have used some of Krista’s pink sea salt if I’d had it on hand--so pretty!)

Refrigerate until the fudge is firm, at least 2 hours.
Lift the fudge out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut the fudge into bite-sized pieces and arrange on a pretty plate. Store leftovers (if there are any) in an airtight container in the fridge. This can also be made ahead and frozen.


As for what to discuss while enjoying the fudge, here are some questions to get things going:

1. Hayley’s mother says that “life develops around the kitchen table” and that “kids need to understand how food connects the people in their lives.” Hayley’s stepmom insists that life develops at work–who cares whether a mother uses a cake mix or serves macaroni from a box? Where would you stand in this argument?

2. Hayley’s parents have a disagreement about social justice on the way to the marina. How do you feel about the homeless people as presented in the book? Have you had any personal experience with homeless folks?

3. When Hayley’s brother Rory gets into trouble, the family struggles with how much to tell the police. They wonder whose side the cops are on. How do you think you might react in a similar situation? Would you trust the police to have your interests at heart?

4. Hayley says “Food meant comfort and love and even peace in my family.” If you had to sum it up, what would you say food meant to your family?

5. Hayley tells Rory “I’ve discovered that family has less to do with biology than it does with who cares enough to make the effort.” Does this statement ring true for you? Talk about a person who isn’t a blood relation in your life who feels like family.

6. When spirits are low, Hayley and her mom make comfort food for the extended family–spanakopita and Greek salad and strawberry whipped cream pie. What menu would you design to cheer up a troubled family member or friend?

 If you’d like to read some of the reviews on MURDER WITH GANACHE, you can do that right here. I was completely delighted this spring, when Woman's World magazine selected MURDER WITH GANACHE as a pick for a foodie book club. As you can see in the photo, they also recommended reading with a daiquiri in hand:).  Sounds like a good idea, right? Recipe here.

And, if you think your book club might like signed postcards from the Key West mysteries, leave a comment today with your email.

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series. DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be on bookshelves on December 2. You can preorder it now, from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite independent bookstore.

Follow Lucy on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

DEADLY ADVICE, the first advice column mystery (written as Roberta Isleib) is finally available as an ebook.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Why, you must be wondering, is Lucy showing us a patch of brambles? Because that was our asparagus bed on April 20! 

Yes it looks terrible, but soon enough the asparagus will come pouring out of it and I'll need ways to cook it. So I experimented with a simple, yet elegant presentation--roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese and leek frizzles. (Don't you love that word?)



1 bunch asparagus
2-3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large leek

Clean the leek carefully, chop it into thin slices, and saute until brown in a little olive oil.

Wash the asparagus and snap off the bottom woody inch or so. Place the stalks in a baking dish and roll them in olive oil.


Grate the cheese, add this to the baking dish and distribute it over the asparagus.


 Roast the vegetables in a 400 degree oven about ten minutes.

Garnish with the frizzled leeks. 

What's your favorite recipe for asparagus? Lord knows I'm going to need lots of variations!

MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now!

 Follow Lucy on Facebook

And Twitter

And Pinterest.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Orange Almond Sponge Cake with Orange Glaze @LucyBurdette #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE: You've probably heard me mention a hundred times my favorite bakery in Guilford CT called Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Everything they make is exquisite, but one of my favorite treats is an orange flavored angel cake with a lemon glaze. 

For your Mother's Day pleasure, I wanted to try to replicate something like that, but including almond flavor and an orange glaze. As you'll see, though there is plenty of sugar in the recipe, there is not one whisker of fat!


6 eggs
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
2 tsp grated orange rind
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract

For the glaze:

3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Grate the rind of a well-washed orange until you get 2 teaspoons, more or less. (I used a Honeybell.) Then squeeze the orange, using a second if needed, to make 1/2 cup. (You will use 1/3 of this for the cake, and the remainder for the glaze.)

In large bowl, place the egg whites with the cream of tartar and beat them with an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. (You can test this by slowly withdrawing the beaters from the eggs. Soft peaks should stand up with the slightest droop at the top.) Next, gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar, beating until whites are stiff but not dry.

In another large bowl, place separated yolks. Beat them with unwashed beaters until thick. Add remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating until the yolks are very thick and ivory colored.

To the beaten yolks, add the grated orange rind and the orange juice and almond flavoring, beating until just blended.

Beat in flour and ground almonds at a very low speed. Add the beaten egg whites to this mixture, and fold them in with a rubber spatula--gently.

Turn the cake batter into ungreased 10" tube pan. Cut through batter several times with a knife to break up any air bubbles and then smooth the top.
Bake at 325F for about fifty minutes. The top will appear golden and the cake should spring back when lightly touched.

Invert on wire rack to cool. Loosen cake from sides of pan with spatula. 
Set on serving plate.

Whisk together the orange juice, powdered sugar, and vanilla until very smooth. Drizzle this over the cooled cake.  My glaze did not sit prettily on the outside of the cake, but it gave the sponge an extra delicious pocket of flavor!

Serve on a pretty plate and watch them swoon!

MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now!

 Follow Lucy on Facebook

And Twitter

And Pinterest.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rich and Creamy Smoked Fish Dip @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: The plan was for the residents of the condo to have a party by the pool. We'd all bring drinks and snacks to share and enjoy a glorious sunset.

In the past, I'd bought containers of smoked fish dip (which is not inexpensive) and we scarfed every bite down. Then it occurred to me that I could make it myself--for less money and skipping the unappealing ingredients.

8 oz smoked trout or other fish
4 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
3 scallions, cleaned and minced
1/4 lemon
1/4 heaping teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

(Or for another variation, leave out the scallions and Old Bay and replace them with a tablespoon of horseradish and two tablespoons of chopped fresh dill.)

In one bowl, flake the fish.


In another bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, the sour cream, the chopped scallions, and the lemon. Mix well.

Stir in the fish and mix that up.


Serve with crackers or chips or celery or endive.
I had the dip prepared but the weather went sour. Tornado warnings, severe thunderstorms, torrential rain.

No Problem for this gang--we moved the party to the garage!

Meanwhile, the smoked fish dip goes perfectly with MURDER WITH GANACHE, in stores now!

 Follow Lucy on Facebook

And Twitter

And Pinterest.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Buttery Cornbread with Mango and Jalapeno @LucyBurdette and a #Chat

LUCY BURDETTE: First things first--congrats to Daryl Wood Gerber and Peg Cochran for their new books this week--can't wait to dig into those!

Readers of this blog may not realize what goes on behind the scenes in this blog--maybe it's like sausage-making, right? Better not to know too much:). But my pals at Mystery Lovers Kitchen had a funny chat online last week--we thought you'd like hearing a little of it...the wacky minds of mystery-writing foodies. We're always thinking of you!

SHEILA: I'm still taking pix for this Friday's post. Do we all just take pix at every meal? I took a picture of my drink at a restaurant last night. Weird.

MARY JANE aka VICTORIA: Pix all the time! Not even the vegetables have any privacy, Sheila.

LUCY: Definitely no privacy for YOUR vegetables MJ! My husband gets alarmed if I don't take pix--he thinks the meal will surely be sub-par:)

KRISTA: LOL. I take pics of other things, too. Snowy limbs, flowers, birds, funny stuff I see. You just never know what you’re going to need.

MARY JANE: Right now there are guys trimming branches around our Hydro lines (as electric lines are called up here in Ontario.) I'm taking pictures. They are waving--probably dangerous. Not sure how to make this into a blog unless it's I'm Sure Glad I Have My Job.

SHEILA: Did you take them snacks? How about a post on what linemen eat?

Okay, back to the business of recipes. I'm a few months late with this cornbread recipe--you could have used it last fall when you were making your stuffed pumpkins and cornbread-sausage Thanksgiving stuffing! But after the winter most of the country has had, I decided to jazz it up with a go-away winter zippiness that comes from mangos and jalapenos. We've had some fabulous mango bread from our local bakery, Cole's Peace in Key West, and I thought, why not cornbread?


3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1 and 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cups milk, plus 1 Tbsp white vinegar
3-4 Tbsp butter
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 ripe mango, chopped 

Mix the dry ingredients. Add the vinegar to the milk and wait a bit for it to thicken. (I've given up buying buttermilk, as I wasted too much of it.) Beat the eggs into the milk, add this to the dry mixture and stir until combined. Then stir in the mango and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Drop the butter into the 8x8 inch pan you will use to bake, and melt it by popping the pan into the oven for a few minutes. Pour the cornbread batter into the prepared pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes until slightly brown. Serve hot, with more butter if desired. (We found we didn't need it.)

It was wonderful with chili, but I bet it would be delicious with eggs or all by itself as a mid-afternoon snack. Heated up with a little honey slathered on?

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. MURDER WITH GANACHE is in stores now!

Follow Lucy on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest! She loves it when you pin her stuff:) 

PS I should warn you all that I'm taking a two-day class in 
iPhonography--that is how to take better photos with my iphone. Snapseed, Hipstamatic, Dynamic Light, Image Blender...oh my poor brain is spinning...See what you think about this piece of mango cornbread, compared to the one above...I'm going to try some things out on you, and hopefully the photos will get better, not worse!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Cake @LucyBurdette

Molly and Lucy in front of defunct Duck Tour boat
LUCY BURDETTE: We've had a steady stream of visitors in Key West this winter (not a surprise, right?), most recently a quick bonus trip from our daughter. Molly was escaping the rigors of her Emergency Medicine residency and came with hopes of playing tennis, relaxing by the pool, and baking a cake. 

Baking a cake! What could be better than that request? We chose to try a pineapple upside cake because I'd come across a beauty of a pineapple at the Botanical Gardens open house over the weekend. (For sale, I mean--I didn't steal it off a tree:). 

This is an easy recipe--with two of us working on it, I'd say it took half an hour to put together. Molly talked me into using my new stand mixer--I'm still working on my relationship with that machine, after some pizza dough turned out a little tough.

1/2 fresh pineapple or canned, well-drained (not in syrup)

4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup slivered almonds (or whole maraschino cherries or pecans)

1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup sugar
8 Tbsp. butter (so that makes 12 altogether)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 325. Butter a 9 inch cake pan, bottom and sides. (I used some of the butter above, figuring there's plenty in the recipe already!) Cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of the pan, put it in the bottom and butter that too.

Peel and stem the pineapple; cut it into rings or whatever shape your artistic side demands.
Melt 4 oz of butter in a small pan. Add the honey and brown sugar and heat until smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, sprinkle with sliced almonds, and then arrange the pineapple in the pan. 

(You can put maraschino cherries in the center if you want to be old-fashioned, or you might replace the cherries with pecans. Since I had neither on hand, we tried sliced almonds before settling the pineapple into the butter.)

Meanwhile, combine the flours and baking powder in one bowl and measure milk into a glass measuring cup.
In another bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar and vanilla and almond extracts until they are light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

On low speed, add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk until everything is mixed nicely.

Pour the batter over the fruit and nuts and bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.


Let the cake rest on a rack for at least 15 minutes. Then place your serving  plate over the top and gently invert the cake onto the platter. Ours slid out beautifully, leaving the parchment paper in the pan. Baking and cooking brings even more joy when someone's working with you, don't you think?

Speaking of joy, thanks to all the readers who bought MURDER WITH GANACHE over the past two weeks. If you haven't gotten yours yet, Duke says "why not? It's the cat's pajamas!" GANACHE can be purchased wherever books are sold.

And please stay up on all the Key West foodie news by following Lucy on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.