Showing posts with label artichoke dip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artichoke dip. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Book Club Week! Party-Perfect Artichoke Dip #bookclubweek #bookgiveaway

by Leslie Budewitz

Welcome, readers – whether you’re bookclubbed or not!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD!

When DEATH AL DENTE, my first mystery and first in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, came out in August 2015, I went to my first book club meeting as an author. What a treat! The Mystery Book Club at Glacier County Library in Cutbank, Montana (population 2,987) welcomed me with a scarecrow chalkboard sign, custom bookmarks, a read-alike display—and in a terrific compliment I did not expect, the food from my book.

In the two years since, every book club I’ve attended, in a library or a private home, has served the recipes from my book. And that’s perfect, because each Food Lovers’ Mystery features a festival—a summer kickoff called the Festa di Pasta, a steak grill-off, and a foodie film festival—and the recipe section is designed so that readers can recreate the festival food at home. And in my Spice Shop Mysteries, Pepper and her pals meet every Tuesday for movie night—an excuse to eat and chat. And yes, I share their recipes.

Because what’s the point of reading foodie fiction if you can’t taste it yourself?

After that first book club experience, I’ve been careful to include finger food and other treats a hostess can easily make and serve. Filet with Huckleberry-Morel Sauce might work for some book clubs, but if yours is like mine, Huckleberry Chocolate Mousse and Spiced Glazed Nuts are better choices!

Here’s the scoop on my latest, BUTTER OFF DEAD (July 2015):

From the cover: “As the national bestselling Food Lovers’ Village mysteries continue, the merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana try to heat up chilly winter business with a new film festival. But their plans are sent reeling when a dangerous killer dims the lights on a local mover and shaker …

In an attempt to woo tourists to Jewel Bay and cheer up the townies, Erin Murphy, manager of the specialty local foods market known as the Merc, is organizing the First Annual Food Lovers’ Film Festival, popping with classic foodie flicks and local twists on favorite movie treats. But when her partner in planning, painter Christine Vandeberg, is found dead only days before the curtain rises, Erin suspects someone is attempting to stop the films from rolling.

To make matters worse, Nick—Erin’s brother and Christine’s beau—has top billing on the suspect list. Convinced her brother is innocent and determined that the show must go on, Erin must find who’s really to blame before Nick gets arrested or the festival gets shut down. And as the anniversary of Erin’s father’s death in a still-unsolved hit-and-run approaches, her own beau isn’t so keen on her leading role.
But the closer Erin gets to shining a spotlight on the killer, the more likely it becomes that she’ll be the next person cut from the program…”

The Billings Outpost called it “A tasty treat. ... The character development is top notch, and Erin is a truly likable heroine.”

BUTTER is the third in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, but readers assure me it stands alone, and say they weren’t at all confused by starting with the third in the series. (Even better, some then read the first two!) I think any of the three makes a great choice for a book club because of the mother-daughter theme running through the series, the struggle over visions for the family business, which will be familiar to many readers, and the setting in NW Montana, near Glacier National Park.

And, of course, the food.

A few questions to spark the discussion in your book club:

1. Erin and Christine create the Food Lovers’ Film Festival to stir up a dash of mid-winter fun. Do you have a favorite food-related movie? Is there a food-related scene from a movie that sticks in your memory and always makes you laugh—or cry, or get hungry? Have you ever been inspired to recreate a dish you’ve seen in a movie?

2. A theme of BUTTER is the drive to collect. Do you have the collector gene? What’s the oddest collection you’ve seen? The most intriguing? The thing you tossed years ago that you wish you’d saved?

3. For years, Tom Murphy’s unsolved death has haunted his family—and it turns out, others in the community as well. Did the resolution surprise you? What does the incident say about perception, misunderstanding, and grief?

And a question for you:
I’ve been in a book club where the group chose the books and another where that month’s hostess chose the book. How does your club choose? Pros and cons? What book that you loved would you not have discovered without your book club?

Leave a comment, including your email address, by eight a.m Mountain, Thurs, Sept. 17, to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of BUTTER OFF DEAD. If you’d like bookmarks for your book club, send me your land mail address and how many you need, at leslie at lesliebudewitz dot com

And besides the mousse and nuts, your book club might enjoy Erin’s Huckleberry Martinis or Margaritas, or her Jewel Bay Critter Crunch, both from BUTTER OFF DEAD.

This recipe isn’t in any of my books yet, but when Mr. Right and I are asked to bring an appetizer, this is our go-to. People always compliment me—but he’s the one who makes it! A secret of success: We bake it just before we leave home, and wrap the dish in a towel so it’s still warm when we arrive.

Mr. Right’s Party-Perfect Artichoke Dip

1 cup marinated artichokes (1 jar), in oil, chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 cup (scant) mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients in an 8 or 9 inch glass pie plate or square glass baking dish.

Spread smooth. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with a basket of baguette slices, tortilla chips, or toasted pita chips. (Oops! I was so excited to eat the goop---as we call any dip at our house---that I forgot to take a picture of the baked dip before we'd eaten 2/3 of it. I promise, you'll understand after one bite.)

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. 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.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

Marinade, with my pouty whisk
I don't mind using convenience foods, so this is one of the last posts I thought I'd ever write.  Marinated artichoke hearts come in a jar, pre-marinated and delicious.  Making your own would be like making your own cheese or your own yarn:  great for some people, but not really something I'm dying to do.

Last week, I planned to make artichoke dip for a girl night.  Somehow, though, I found myself with two cans of artichoke hearts when I needed one can of plain and one jar of marinated.

What's a girl to do?  Go to the grocery store?

Heaven forbid.

No, I had 24 hours before the girl night, and I decided to use one of those cans to make my own marinated artichokes.

Turns out, it's pretty easy.  And worth the extra effort.  Even though the veggies themselves came out of a can, the freshly-made marinade gave the artichokes a kick that you just don't get from the jarred version.  

Marinated Artichoke Hearts

1 can quartered artichoke hearts, well-drained
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. dried mixed Italian herbs (basil, oregano, and thyme ... or a purchased blend)

Mix all ingredients in a container with a lid.  Seal up, and refrigerate 12 - 24 hours.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kicky Artichoke Dip

My wonderful critique group, the Lit Girls (which includes authors Melissa Bourbon and Molly Cannon), held another day-long brainstorming session last weekend.  We gathered in a big circle in Melissa Bourbon's den, laptops open and ready to go, and took turns pitching our stories to each other.

It's a fascinating process.  When you write, you're often so focused on the page-to-page trees that you completely lose sight of the story-telling forrest.  In these brainstorming sessions, we help each other get a firm grip on the heart of our conflict, develop the plot to emphasize that conflict, and cut the stuff that really doesn't fit.  Oh, and we help each other write our one- or two-sentence "log line":  a quick encapsulation of the whole story.

While we're working, we're also having a ton of fun.  Molly has a gift for punny titles, Tracy has a wicked sense of humor, and I have developed a reputation for solving all plot problems by killing someone.  Kym tells us stories about her years as a cop.  Melissa's kids and critters keep us laughing.  And, of course, there's always a spread of delicious food.

This go-round, Tracy brought this awesome spicy artichoke dip.  I e-mailed her afterward to ask if she would share the recipe and let me share it with you.  Ah.  Turns out she didn't actually make it.  It came from Costco.  Which is great, if you happen to belong to Costco ... you can pick it up and enjoy without even stepping foot in the kitchen.

But we do recipes here, so I cobbled together a version of the dip that comes pretty close to Costco's.

The Mezzetta tamed jalapeno peppers are KEY.

So, for your Superbowl snacking pleasure, I bring you this zippy artichoke dip.  I think it has a lot more flavor that the usual fare, with just the right amount of heat.  It's great served with Triscuits, pita chips, or crostini.  Num!

Kicky Artichoke Dip

1 large (12 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, squeezed out, and chopped
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts (in water), drained, squeezed out, and chopped
1 - 8 oz. carton cream cheese, softened
1 c. mayo
1 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 c. "tamed" chopped/pickled jalapenos (heap that 1/3 c. if you like extra kick)*

Preheat oven to 350.

Make sure you've pressed the excess oil/water out of your artichoke hearts.  You can use your hands (if you're so inclined), or press them against the sides of a colander with a large spoon.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine mayo and cream cheese.  Mix with a hand mixer until fairly smooth.  Add artichokes, jalapenos, and 1 c. parmesan.  Mix well.  Spread in a 7x12 baking dish, top with remaining 1/2 c. shredded parmesan, and bake for 30 minutes.  Raise oven temperature to 425 and continue baking for another 10 minutes (keeping an eye on the dip to make sure it doesn't burn).

Serve warm or room temperature.

* Look for Mezzetta "tamed" jalapenos.  They are made from a special variety of the pepper that has a lot of flavor but reduced heat.  If you cannot find Mezzetta's, then opt for a tablespoon of regular pickled jalapenos and make up the remaining with mild diced green chiles.  But really look for the Mezzetta peppers.  They're also fantastic on nachos!


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook. She also writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries under the name Annie Knox; you can follow Annie on Facebook, too!