Showing posts with label butter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label butter. Show all posts

Friday, October 20, 2017

Butter Tarts from Canada

This past weekend I attended the Bouchercon mystery writers conference in Toronto, Canada. I was told that this year the conference attracted 1,700-plus writers, readers and fans, and we were all kept very busy with panels and parties and meetings and just plain talking.

View from my hotel window
I had never been to Canada before, and I confess I did no research about Toronto, other than figuring out where it was in the country. I had no idea what the city had to offer (and not a lot of time to explore it). But one thing I hadn’t expected was to find so much great food!

Yes, I had to try poutine (I had a variety with lobster, but I’m not a convert to poutine yet), and I had an amazing dish with octopus (unexpected!), but most important, I found a new dessert: butter tarts. Apparently this is one of Canada’s favorites desserts, but I’d never heard of it. Still, how can you go wrong with a dessert that has butter in its name?

I looked up recipes. Lots of recipes. They’re all different. But it boils down to a small pie crust shell filled with gooey sweet stuff, both made with lots of butter. Apparently there is some controversy over whether the gooey middle should be firm or runny. My version came out runny, but you can dunk the crust into it. If you’re pie-crust challenged (as I am), I give you permission to buy frozen mini-tart shells if you can find them—making the filling is easy.

Canadian Butter Tarts


2-1/2 cups pastry flour
1 Tblsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening (cold and cut in cubes)
1/2 cup butter (cold and cut in cubes)
ice water as needed to hold dough together

In a food processor pulse the butter and shortening with the flour, sugar and salt, until pieces are pea-sized.

Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time and pulse between, until the dough just holds together. (Do not overmix).

Shape into two rounds, about 1" thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Roll out the dough and cut into 4-inch rounds. Fit into 3-inch muffin cups (no greasing necessary), and put the muffin tins back in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling. 

This amount of dough should make enough to fill 12 standard muffin cups. The crust will be about 1/4-inch thick and rise just a bit over the top edge.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F while you make the filling.


1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
optional: 1/2 cup raisins or currants, nuts, or chocolate chips

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. 

Fill the lined cups about 2/3 full.

Ready to bake

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges of the crust begin to brown and the filling has puffed up a bit (it will sink back again as it cools).


Cool on a wire rack before removing from the muffin tins.

Gooey! (And delicious)
Oh, that's right--there's another book of mine coming out in a few weeks (November 7th, to be precise): A Late Frost, the eleventh in the Orchard Mystery series. Maybe Meg and Seth thought winter would be peaceful--nothing that needed doing in Meg's orchard, and most people don't want to start house renovation project in the middle of winter, so Seth's business was quiet. 

But of course that didn't last: town newcomer Monica Whitman is found dead the evening after Granford's new winter festival that she helped to plan, and nobody knew her well enough to guess why. It should be no surprise that Meg ends up involved in trying to figure out what happened--she remembers what it was like to be the new kid in Granford.

Available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Saint Patrick's Day Pork Chops

I had written a nice post about pretty spring food and then I remembered: Saint Patrick’s Day is next Thursday, and I won’t be posting until the day after. Sure, you could make it a very long weekend, but I didn't want to miss the day, plus I found a new and tasty Irish dish (that doesn’t involve fish! Or cookies!).

Do you know, I’ve never been in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day? So I can’t say whether the towns actually celebrate it (apart from Dublin, where the tourists are), or if it’s just another day, and it’s only the exiles who have made a big thing of it, with parades and turning a river green and the like. I'll be checking in with "my" pub to see how they handle things.

Cows in an Irish meadow (they're everywhere)
You might notice there’s a lot of cream and butter in this recipe. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since the dairy business is big in Ireland, particularly in West Cork (over 4,000 herds of cattle), and Kerrygold is one of the country’s largest exporters. I will not comment upon the rate of heart disease in Ireland. Why spoil the fun?

The pork? Well, back when people there were just scraping by with their small dairy herd and their potato hills, they kept a pig to sell for cash, which was hard to come by. There’s now a large piggery up the hill from where my grandfather was born (and a lot of empty houses around it, because a piggery is rather aromatic).

Saint Patrick's Day Pork Chops with Honey Whiskey Green Peppercorn Sauce(Inspired by The New Irish Table by Margaret Johnson)

[Note: This recipe serves four. Since there are only two of us at home, I cut it in half, which is what you see in the pictures.]


4 pork chops (abt 1/2 lb each)
Forgive the mess: I'm doing a bit of
spring cleaning in my pantry closet
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for cooking


3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into
small pieces
1 Tblsp green peppercorns (preserved in liquid)
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
1/2 cup honey

Pat the pork chops dry, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and saute the chops. Remove them while they=re still a bit springy (they will continue to cook from their own heat). Place on a plate and cover, then keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

[Note: a lot of recipes call for cooking liquid to reduce it by some percentage. I can=t just eyeball that, and every pan is different anyway. The bottom line is, cook until the liquid thickens a bit. Use the time estimate if you want.]

Wine in the pan (if this was French, it would
be called deglazing)
In the same pan, cook the wine over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Add the chicken stock and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by one-third.

Add the cream and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until reduced again by one-third.

All liquids in the pan
Slightly mash up the green peppercorns with the back of a spoon, then stir into the sauce.

Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in 2 Tblsp of the whiskey and 2 Tblsp of the honey, and cook for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Taste it and add more of either or both if you want. Ditto with the salt and pepper.

The finished sauce
Place a generous spoonful of sauce on each warm plate and set a pork chop on it. Surround with boiled new potatoes. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh

Yes, that's Ireland--Glandore Harbour in West Cork. No, it's not March in this picture. (Nor in the book coming next year. Hmm, maybe the one after that?)

Find it at Barnes and Noble or Amazon

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Our Secret Family Recipe: Butter on a Stick by Cleo Coyle

Marc, my beloved husband and partner in crime-writing, never knew his Aunt Felicity (she died tragically young of a massive coronary), but he grew up hearing about her fabulous holiday dinners, which included ten or twelve main courses and a half-dozen desserts.

Aunt Felicity’s meals were so legendary that, in her honor, Marc’s mother prepared one of Felicity’s favorite and most popular dishes for every family holiday: Butter on a Stick!

Like puff pastries, croissants, and pies, Butter on a Stick can be made sweet or savory.’ll be amazed to learn that something this amazing is actually a "no-fuss" treat. Butter on a Stick is so easy, you can prepare it with your kids, or (better yet) have those little, freeloading rug rats make it for you!


Be sure to click the link 
at the end of this recipe
for a very special PDF...


Meanwhile, enjoy these tempting photo samples,
to give you an idea of just how versatile Butter on a Stick can be.

Here’s a tasty dessert variation. Butter on a Stick with Donut Holes! Or try coating the original Butter on a Stick (see first photo) with chocolate jimmies, or rolling it in M & M’s, crushed nuts, or crumbled Oreos. Or simply add marshmallows, Hershey’s kisses, and fun-sized, sliced up Reese’s Cups. Yes, that would a Rocky Road Butter on a Stick!!! You are limited only by your imagination, budget, and (of course) your doctor's orders.

This Easter version of this classic dessert displays the beautifully bright yellows of spring. 

Here's one for Grilling Season: Bacon-Wrapped Butter on a Stick! 
Or...if you crave sweet with your salty, try Chocolate-Dipped Bacon-wrapped Butter on a Stick with a sprinkling of French Sea Salt, of course. Oh la-la! Other popular savory versions have featured pepperoni, ham, fried chicken tenders, pork kabobs, sausages, mini-franks, and meatballs.

Butter on a Stick with Fruit! Here’s a healthier alternative. Or you can try tofu, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, apple pieces, melon slices, or bananas. 

 Now be sure to 
CLICK HERE for that
special PDF I promised you,

May your plate forever
overfloweth with good eats
and good humor!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
Mysteries set in a Lunatic Asylum
 with Lots of Highly-Caffeinated People
Who like to Solve Murders.

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
No Hairballs!
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.


Now a National
Bestseller in Hardcover
(okay, actually true)

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

*Starred Review* -Kirkus (also true)

"Top Pick"  -RT Book Reviews (not lying)

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
-Publishers Weekly (really, they said this)

See the book's
Recipe Guide
by clicking here.
(actual real
recipes this time)

* * * 

Coffeehouse Mystery
Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)
click here and you can
read the summaries instead
of the books, like Cliffsnotes!

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are (actually) bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

* * * 

Haunted Bookshop
BOO! (Actually they're not scary,
just mysterious and funny)

Free Title Checklist, 
click here because you should
read these. Really, you should.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pasta ala #TheChew

Have you seen 
the new TV sensation, 
The Chew?

My book, THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE, and a few other culinary mysteries were mentioned, and suddenly I had emails and Facebook posts from friends saying, "Did I see it?" Well, I didn't, but I was able to catch a repeat, and I was thrilled.

Now...if only they would invite me to be on the show. I live in Los Angeles. I could be there in a heartbeat. Flights go hourly to New York. :)

Clinton, Daphne, Mario, Michael, & Carla
I've watched a few episodes since then. I don't watch much daytime television because I'm writing all the time.  Allllll the time. But I tuned in the other day for the first episode of the new season. They talked about their summer vacations. It was so cute. Like they were all coming back to school.  I hope they won't mind, but I snapped a picture from their website of them so you can see their faces.

Anyway,  Clinton Kelly, an effervescent host, shared a recipe he had eaten in Napa. It looked so fabulous that I had to try it. Fresh vegetables, pasta, wine, butter. What's not to like?

Now, Clinton didn't give specifics regarding the portions (other than the butter), but I'm pretty good at eyeballing a TV chef's ingredients.

This is what I came up with, (GLUTEN-FREE because as many of you know, I need to eat gluten-free), and it was delicious. The nutmeg adds just the right touch. The fresh ricotta...divine. Clinton said that he likes a meal that makes him feel like he really had a "meal" and didn't skimp. This is one. Perfect for lunch or dinner.


From The Chew

Pasta ala Clinton Kelly after he visited Napa

Gluten-free version ala Daryl Wood Gerber


1-2  tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 shallots, peeled and diced
2 tsp. salt
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
10-20 baby tomatoes, sliced
½ cup white wine (I used Leitz 2009 Riesling)
1 cube butter
1 fresh tarragon leaf (I used 1 teaspoon dried sage)
1 cup fresh ricotta
2 cups cooked pasta (1/2 cup per serving)
*Clinton used fresh parapdelle – I used gluten-free linguini from Bionature!!


Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add the garlic. Do not cook too hot. You don’t want to scorch the garlic or it will turn bitter. Add the shallots, salt. Stir about 1 minute. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes. Stir about 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine. It simmers beautifully. Add the butter. Don’t skimp. The liquid will soak into the pasta. Crush and add the tarragon. (I used sage because I didn’t have fresh tarragon. I forgot. The sage was scrumptious!). Stir for about 2-4 minutes.

Set 4 plates with the cooked and drained pasta. Top each with a quarter of the cooked veggies. Top with a healthy portion of ricotta. (About ¼ cup).  Dust with nutmeg.  Serve.

So simple, so delish!  And this version, gluten-free!

PS  The pasta I use and will promote forever is Bionature gluten-free pasta.  [Made in Italy.] 

It is the most delicious pasta on the market. I've had fresh at a few dedicated gluten-free restaurants, and only one in New York, Bistango, has made a pasta better, in my humble opinion. 


REMINDER: To save this recipe (and any that are posted on MLK,  click the Print Friendly button below 

(it looks like this but don't hit this one).  Choose PDF to print. 

* * * * *
The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 

You can pre-order the book HERE. 

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 the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Also, you probably know about my alter ego.
Daryl's new series: A COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERY series
debuts July 2013

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST...okay, maybe least...:)

I'm pleased to announce that my short story, PALACE ON THE LAKE, 
in Fish Tales: A Guppy Anthology has been nominated for both
the Anthony Award and Macavity Award. 
Go Sisters in Crime Guppies! 
Without the Guppies, my career would not be on the right track.
The group support is invaluable!
You can read PALACE ON THE LAKE by clicking on the title above. :)

Say cheese!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roasted Corn with Flavored Butter

Mr. Wendy and I hit the farmers' market this week ... I had my eyes open for local honey and good-looking tomatoes, but we got there fairly late and neither were to be found.  We did, however, make off with some fresh peaches, new potatoes, a deeply fragrant cantaloupe (a Texas delicacy), and four plump ears of sweet corn.

The peaches went on the counter, for easy, casual snacking.

The cantaloupe was cut up for breakfast feasting.

The new potatoes were earmarked for a Moroccan lentil stew (coming soon).

And the sweet corn, well, it needed eating right away.  Thankfully, I have a go-to recipe for sweet corn that dresses it up just enough to make corn and veggie burgers a real treat of a meal but keeps the cooking simple enough for summer fare.

For the corn, whack off the silks and the long part of the stalk but leaving the husks on.  Bake in a 350 oven for 35 minutes.  Carefully remove from oven and (holding the cobs with a towel) remove the husks.  Again, be very, very careful, as the corn has been steaming in its husk and the steam that is released is really hot.  This method is so no-fuss, no-muss you won't believe it.  It leaves the corn tender like boiling but without the loss of flavor, and after steaming the silks slide right off the cobs making husking/cleaning a lot easier.

For the butter, blend half a stick of softened butter with 1 tsp. of your favorite spice blend.  Tyler Florence recommends half a stick of butter with 1 tsp. chili powder and the zest of half a lime.  I recommend half a stick of butter with 1 tsp. of Penzey's Northwoods seasoning blend.

What would you recommend?  Got a favorite seasoning blend that would be killer on an ear of sweet corn?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Hooligans' Sugar Cookie Recipe

This recipe belongs to my sons.
wrote it down exactly as it was told to me.

Um, Santa, we can explain...

The Hooligans' Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Decorating sugar

1: Wash your hands. We find that licking them works just as well.

2: Blend sugar and butter. You can use a fork but hands are more
fun for gushing the butter between your fingers.

3: Beat in vanilla and egg until fluffy. If you get into a tug of war over
the mixer with your brother, we've found you get enough fluffing action
without even turning it on.

4: Mix in flour and baking soda. This is a good opportunity to observe
how ghostlike you can make your appearance by covering yourself in
flour. It's also been known to make Mom scream, however, we're
unclear if it's from fright or the mess.

5: Divide the dough in half. We've noted that parental mediation is
occasionally required to discern what is exactly even.

6: Shape each half into a roll about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
(think snakes -- big ones)!

7: Wrap and refrigerate for one hour. A good way to time it is to keep
asking your mom if it's done yet (until her eyes roll back into her head)
then you know it's ready.

8: Cut into 1/4 inch slices and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Then sprinkle with decorating sugar. Our rule is a pinch for the cookie
and a pinch for us. If your mouth isn't circled by sugar sprinkles,
clearly you're not enjoying the process as much as you should.

9: Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes until brown around the edges
(best to leave this step to a parental to avoid unnecessary
immolation of brother or self). Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy! But remember to save some for Santa!

Jenn McKinlay
March 2010 (available for pre-order)

aka Lucy Lawrence
Sept 2009 (Available now)

April 2010 (available for pre-order)

for more info: