Showing posts with label Rosemary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rosemary. Show all posts

Friday, October 30, 2015

Remembrance Cookies

by Sheila Connolly

Tomorrow night, October 31st, is Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”), also called All Hallows Eve or All Saints’ Eve, and what we know as Halloween. I’ve probably described it here before (since it comes around every year!). If you’re of a superstitious turn of mind, it’s the night where the barrier between the living and the souls of the dead is at its thinnest, so if you fear spirits, you might want to stay out of your local cemeteries. (Or go out with a crowd of people and beg for candy!) But this may not help, if the dead want to return to their former homes. To welcome them, light a few candles to guide their way, and put out some food and drink for them.

The celebration of the event goes back to medieval times and possibly earlier, and—no surprise—apples have played a part. But I’m not going to talk about apples! I’m talking about Irish cookies.

Rosemary for remembrance

A lot of the traditional Irish Samhain recipes are pretty much like ordinary year-round recipes. I debated about offering you Fairy Spice Cakes, but I don’t think October 31st is a night for fairies, but rather for darker creatures. But I did find a rather unusual cookie recipe that most people label Remembrance Cookies. I’ve read that you should eat the cookies while telling stories about your ancestors (the Irish are great story-tellers, and they have very long memories where people are concerned), and if there are any cookies left, add them to a bonfire outside.

Remembrance Cookies

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened (particularly appropriate for County Cork, where there are over 4,000 herd of dairy cows)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1-1/2 Tblsp chopped rosemary (for remembrance, of course)

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, butter, egg, vanilla, almond extract and rosemary until creamy. (BTW, I used my own home-grown rosemary.)

Includes butter from Co. Cork cows
Chopped rosemary

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, then beat until the dough comes together. Refrigerate for three hours. You can keep the dough in the refrigerator for longer, but in that case let it warm up a little before you try to roll it out.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the dough into halves. On a floured surface, roll out one half to just under a quarter-inch thickness.

If you have them, use gingerbread women or men to cut out shapes (these are the ones that you’ll use to celebrate your dead), and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet (or you could use parchment paper). Do the same with the second portion.

Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes (don’t let them burn!). Remove from the baking sheet and let cool.

I will confess I was a bit skeptical about how well rosemary would work in a sweet cookie, and one with almond extract, no less, but the combination was surprisingly pleasant.

My Irish family: the four Lawless sisters, their
only brother (Patrick), and my grandparents,
Margaret Lawless and John Connolly

Pour yourself a bit of Irish whiskey and share the old family stories around a nice fire.

And in the spirit of the day, a sneak preview of the next County Cork Mystery, A Turn for the Bad, coming February 2016.

Available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

There will be smugglers! And a daring rescue! And whiskey!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Losing a Pet: Pay Attention to the Cracks. It’s How the Light Gets In ~ Leonard Cohen (A post from Cleo Coyle)

“The birds they sang at the break of day. 
Start again I heard them say. 
Don't dwell on what has passed away… 

Ring the bells that still can ring. 
Forget your perfect offering. 
There is a crack in everything. 
That's how the light gets in…” 

~ lyrics from Anthem by
songwriter and poet
Leonard Cohen 

Inspiration for the annual
"How the Light Gets In"
Festival, taking place next week.
Click here to learn more.

Caring for an animal, making it part of your home or family is an act of courage. We outlive them, and we know we will, which means we commit to witnessing the arc of their lives. No mean feat. 

We watch as they move from puppies or kittens through their active prime years. We play with them, laugh with them, and eventually suffer with them as they decline. 

It’s hard to see those you love in pain, even harder to say goodbye, and real grief follows a beloved pet’s death. 

Why do we do this? 

Those who have never owned a cat or dog or opened their homes to a sentient animal may wonder why pet owners take on the cost and pain and trouble. Everyone has their own answers. Here are mine:

We do it because the joy
outshines the heartbreak...

We do it because cost 
is part of living
(and should be)...

We do it because 
when we experience pain, 
we crack a little, and 
whether we see it or not, 
the cracks in our darkest hours 
are how the light gets in.

Of course, I borrowed that last line from the gifted songwriter Leonard Cohen, who wrote a set of lyrics that helped me through this past week after I lost my little long-haired stray cat to cancer.

(Like me) she was a misfit from the start, a sickly little flea-bitten thing who my husband and I nursed back to health. The health stayed with her for ten very happy years until she died of a fast-moving cancer last week.

Subjects of this nature are usually reserved for great cathedrals, where they are preached with great profundity (and footnotes), but (for me) real understanding truly come during weeks like this. 

I loved my Fluffy-Bunny very much—and she loved me, which I saw (almost miraculously) in those big blue eyes, even at the very end, as I stayed with her while she was put to sleep. It’s something that will always stay with me...

When the pain and fear are over, when the grief begins to fade, one thing is left, in the mind and heart, and that is love. The love is what lasts—and that is what matters.

Who is Cleo Coyle? 
~ Alice Alfonsi,
...who writes as Cleo Coyle
in collaboration with her husband,
Marc Cerasini

Because this is a blog where we always share recipes, I’ve chosen an old favorite--Roasted Chicken with Lime and Rosemary

Our cat Fluffy always stayed close by the kitchen when we cooked this recipe. She enjoyed the aromas--and, at the end of our evening meal, we would share a few warm, juicy pieces with her in a ritual we called "Fluffy-Chicken" treats. If you make it, I hope you (and maybe your own sweet cat or dog) will eat it with the joy that we did.

To download a PDF copy of the above recipe for Roasted Chicken with Lime and Rosemary that you can print, save, or share, click here. To see the original blog post, click here, and...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

P.S.  "How the Light Gets In" is also an annual festival of philosophy and music in England's beautiful town of Hay-on-Wye (the internationally famous "town of books"). Learn more about attending (wish I could!) by clicking the link below. The festival begins next week.

Click here for more info on this year's
"How the Light Gets In" festival.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cookbooks Are Fun

From Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames

As many of you know, I've got a new series coming out:  A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY.  July 2. Just weeks away.

The first is titled FINAL SENTENCE. 

The series features Jenna Hart, who is leaving the high-powered world of advertising to return home to Crystal Cove to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and café. Hint: Jenna is a reader and a foodie. She loves books and food. But she's not a cook. Not yet. For a confident woman, she's not very confident in the kitchen! So her aunt and good friend, the chef of the café, introduce her to simple recipes. Good food with few ingredients. So for the next few weeks, I'm going to be sharing some of Jenna's adventure in getting comfortable in the kitchen.

I love a potato. Any which way I can get it.  Fried, mashed, baked. These little goodies taste like baked potatoes and potato chips. I found the recipe in a cookbook COOKING WITH SADIE AND FRIENDS.

It was being sold at Guava Gouda and Caviar. All the proceeds from the cookbook goes to Hawaii Canines for Independence. Don’t you love things like that? C'mon, isn't that dog (Sadie) on the cover adorable?

Savory Baked Potato Slices


2 brown russet potatoes (the cookbook used red potatoes)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 teaspoons chopped rosemary
salt & pepper


Turn oven on to 400 degrees.

Rinse and slice the potatoes thinly. Lay the potatoes out on two  baking sheets. 

Brush well with olive oil. Tear the sprigs off the rosemary and toss the stems. Chop the rosemary. Sprinkle rosemary over the potatoes. 

Season with salt and pepper.

Set the trays in the oven, one on a low shelf and the other on a higher shelf. Bake 10-12 minutes and switch the trays to the opposite shelf.  Bake 10-12 minutes longer.

Using a spatula, remove the potatoes. Serve at once.

Savor the mystery!

* * * * * * *
Daryl Wood Gerber also writes as Avery Aames, 
author of the Agatha Award-winning,
nationally bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY SERIES 

The 1st in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is coming July 2013!!
You can pre-order the book HERE.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out
You can order the book HERE. 

You can learn more about me, Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego, Avery Aames. Chat with Avery on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's Grilled Cheese Month!

It's national grilled cheese month!  Wheee!!!!!

I almost forgot until my good pal, Spaulding the Feline Foodie and his mistress, the Marcella the Cheesemonger reminded me. How silly of moi!

Marcella, the wizard, shares the perfect way to make a grilled cheese. I cannot do this better than she! Here's a link.  After visiting her link, come back and see which cheese combo I make...or go to her link after and print out the instructions. So much fun!

 If I never told you, here's the way I met Marcella and Spaulding. In THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE, the author (a.k.a. me, myself, and I) made a tiny error. Spaulding the Feline Foodie contacted me to point out the itsy bitsy error...which had to do with Humboldt Fog (a delicious Cypress Grove goat cheese).  So Rags...Charlotte's rescued Ragdoll cat in A Cheese Shop Mystery...wrote back to Spaulding. They had a delightful conversation. Spaulding's mistress forgave me the faux pas and we have become fast friends. Marcella has given me a wealth of great information about cheese. I couldn't be nearly as knowledgeable without her help. She now travels the world in the name of cheese! Lucky her.  [Poor Spaulding misses her...but he has "the man" - Marcella's sweet other half- to keep him loved.]

Devil's Gulch
I digress...back to grilled cheese. One of my all-time favorite foods. Talk about comfort food? I've never had a grilled cheese I didn't like...until I tried a combo this week that didn't work. The cheese was fabulous on its own--creamy and coated in tiny pepper flakes, but in the experiment I tried--adding olives--blech! That doesn't mean a grilled cheese with Devil's Gulch on its own wouldn't be great. It was my experiment that didn't work.

First layer of grilled cheese
On the other hand, try this sandwich that melted in my mouth. I adore the flavors of rosemary, olives, and cheese! And with simple yet delicious cheese, yummy! [Remember, the more cheese, the more it's a grilled "cheese" and not grilled "bread."]


(serves 2)

2 ounces Fromage d’Affiinois cheese
2 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
8 kalamata olives, sliced in half
4 slices bread  (gluten-free if necessary)
2 tablespoons butter


second layer
Butter the bread on one side.  Heat a griddle on medium to LOW.  Lay two pieces of bread on the griddle, butter-side down.  Layer with Fromage d’Affinois (RIND CUT OFF) and mascarpone cheese. Then add rosemary and olives. Top with shredded Gouda. Place other slide of bread on top of each sandwich “half.”

See it ooze out
Cook the sandwich about 2 minutes. Gently flip so no cheese or olives fall out. Cook another 2 minutes. Flip again. Cook 2-4 more minutes, until the cheese is oozing out the sides. [If necessary, cover with foil or another pan to make the heat really stay inside the sandwiches.]  Remember, we don’t want a burned grilled cheese, so make sure the heat stays low.

Slice in half andsserve warm.

Remember to "like" Spaulding on Facebook. 

And remember to check out our recipe box on the right for more grilled cheese sandwiches! We have a lot of them!

* * * * * 

You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.
Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for my mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!


"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
She doesn't say all the same things I do.
And pretty soon she'll have some fun news to share!

You'll hear that first in Avery's newsletter!

Say cheese!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gourmet Potato Pancake Festival and Esther's favorite Latke Recipe from Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle, latke lover, 
is author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
Potato pancakes (latkes) are the favorite Chanukah food of my beloved Village Blend barista Esther, and I think she would have thoroughly enjoyed Brooklyn's 3rd Annual Latke Festival, where 15 chefs from around the world recently battled each other in a gourmet potato pancake cook-off.

To see a short, fun video shot at this festival for New York's Channel 1, click here. Attendees got their fill of an astounding global mashup of flavors with toppings that included figs, goat cheese, duck confit, caviar, quail eggs, cured meats, pickled vegetables, chiles, and even chocolate sprinkles.

Inspired by Brooklyn's Lakte Festival, and the last night of Chanukah, I am delighted to share two latke recipes with you today. The first recipe is a reprise from last year, when one of our followers, Nancy Phillips, informed us that her teenage son Connor (an aspiring Iron chef) came up with an amazing latke recipe based on my Autumn Potatoes post. Wouldn't Connor's recipe have made a wonderful entry in the Brooklyn Festival?!  

To see the original teen Iron Chef post, click here.

To download a PDF of Connor's Garlic Carrot-Potato Latkes with Dill, click here.

As for the second recipe, well...let's just say it's Esther's best. :)

Esther's Roasted Garlic 
and Herb Latkes (Potato Pancakes!)

Below is my barista Esther's own unique spin on her mom’s traditional latke recipe. To the classic pancake, she adds the sweet and pungent flavor of roasted garlic along with the aromatic notes of rosemary and scallion. Serve these babies plain or with sour cream on the side. Delicious!

This recipe was featured in my Coffeehouse Mystery Holiday Grind...

If you're new to me or this blog, the Coffeehouse Mysteries are culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the added bonus of recipes. Holiday Grind includes an extra-large recipe section with holiday treats, a glossary of coffeehouse terms, and instructions on making your own specialty coffee drinks at home. To learn more about my Coffeehouse series, click here.


To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Makes 2 servings or about nine 3- to 4-inch latkes; for family-size meals, you’ll want to double, triple, or quadruple this recipe and have two frying pans working at the same time.


10 garlic cloves, roasted and smashed (See “How to Roast Garlic”
     at the end of this recipe.)

¾ cup finely grated onions (2 to 3 medium size onions)

2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

2 teaspoons salt

1½ pounds Idaho baking potatoes (about 3 medium russet potatoes; yes,
     russets are the best type to use here)

1 large egg, beaten with a fork

Canola or light olive oil

Sour cream (optional topping)


Step 1—­Prepare aromatics: First, preheat the oven to 250°F. In a large bowl, combine the garlic with the onions, scallions, rosemary, and salt.

Step 2—­Grate potatoes: Do not peel your potatoes. Grate by hand 
with a simple box grater, or use a food processor. Add the grated potatoes to the bowl of aromatics and stir well.

Step 3—­Press out moisture: Place the potato mixture in a large sieve and press down to strain out moisture. Esther notes that getting rid of excess moisture will help you cre­ate latkes that are crisp and golden brown.  

Step 4—Add egg: Now return the mixture to the bowl and stir in the egg to finish your latke batter. Cook immediately.

Step 5—­Fry pancakes:
Place a heavy frying pan over me­dium heat and add oil, at least ½ inch deep. As Esther says, “Don’t freak over the amount of oil. It’s the temperature of the oil that makes for greasy latkes, not the amount of oil. Besides, the mitzvah is the oil!” When the oil is hot enough, begin cooking. (See note below on judging when the oil is hot enough.)

NOTE: If your oil is too hot, you’ll burn the latkes. If your oil is too cool, your latkes will be greasy. Test the oil with a drop of water. When it dances or bounces on top of the oil, it’s ready. If the oil begins to smoke, it’s too hot! Also keep in mind that if you crowd the pan with too many latkes, the oil temperature will drop dramatically, so don’t fry too many at once—­for big batches, have two pans going at the same time. 

To fry: Pack potato mixture into a ¼ cup measuring cup. Turn out onto a plate in a little mound. Do this four times. 

Place the four mounds in quick succession into the hot oil and immediately flatten each mound into a 3- to 4-inch pancake. (Flattening is important or you may have latkes that are cooked on the edges but raw in the mid­dle!) Cook each pancake for about 3 minutes on the first side, until the bottom is golden brown. 

Now flip and cook the other side 1–3 minutes until it’s golden brown, too. Do not flip more than once, but Esther suggests lightly press­ing the pancakes a few times with your spatula during the cooking process to make sure the centers cook. Drain in a single layer on paper towels. Keep finished latkes warm in the 250-degree F. oven while you’re cooking the rest of the batter... 

Serve warm with sour cream.

* * * * * * * * * * *

How to Roast Garlic 

Roasted garlic is delicious smashed on crusty French or Italian bread and (of course) mixed with mashed potatoes. Now that’s how to eat with joy! ~ Cleo

Using peeled cloves: Place your peeled cloves into a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with a bit of oil (olive is best), and add a splash of water. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 30–40 minutes or until the garlic is soft.

Using a whole head: 
Cut the top off the head (the pointed end), and wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 30– 40 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Remove from the oven. Let the foil-wrapped garlic cool down enough to handle. Pop the warm, roasted garlic pieces out of their skins and you’re good to go. 

Happy Chanukah!

Merry Christmas!


Happy New Year!


~ Cleo Coyle, author of  

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.